The Senate Agriculture Committee is working on its version of the 2007 Farm Bill. It's no secret that it's bound to be significantly different than the House version, which has been passed for some time now.
Among those differences is yesterday's amendment that would prohibit packers from owning livestock for more than 14 days before slaughter. Among other things, this measure would change the entire market contract arrangements currently in place between more pork producers and packers. Of course, even if the full Senate approves the Senate Ag Committee's Farm Bill version and it heads to the conference committee, it would have to make it in the compromise bill.
Compromise could be a key word this year, as there will be other items that the Senate bill is likely to carry that the House version does not. So compromise on both side's part will be required.
Under this proposed amendment, which would affect the Packers and Stockyards Act, packers could not, "own or feed livestock directly, through a subsidiary, or through an arrangement that gives the packer operational, managerial, or supervisory control over the livestock, or over the farming operation that produces the livestock."
The amendment was one of several passed without debate. The Senate tried to present a similar provision in the 2002 Farm Bill, but it failed to make the cut in the joint committee.