The office of the Senate Agriculture Committee provided the following highlights of the livestock title of the 2007 Farm Bill provisions that were recently passed by the House/Senate conference committee. As reported by Meatingplace.com, they include:
- Ensures producers are not forced into mandatory arbitration in livestock or poultry contracts. Producers will be allowed to decline arbitration prior to entering into the contract.
- Enables a pork or poultry producer to litigate a contract dispute where the principal part of their production occurs, instead of where the company headquarters is located, which could be several states away from where the producer's farm is located.
- Requires retailers to label the country of origin of meat, (such as beef, lamb, pork, chicken and goat meat), as well as fish, fruits and vegetables, ginseng, peanuts, pecans and macadamia nuts by Sept. 30, 2008.
- Improves oversight and transparency of USDA's enforcement of the Packers and Stockyards Act by requiring USDA to provide an annual compliance report detailing the number of investigations and length of time spent on potential violations of the Act. Investigations will be required to be tracked and documented throughout every step of the enforcement process starting with the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration, USDA Office of General Counsel and the Department of Justice.
President Bush has already threatened to veto the bill for being too expensive and for continuing farm subsidies at a time when crop prices are at record highs. White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said the President remains concerned that negotiators have not come close enough to his positions on the bill and could call on Congress to extend the previous farm bill another year instead of passing new legislation.