As the Nov. 22 comment period deadline approaches for the proposed USDA rules on marketing of U.S. hogs, cattle and chickens, livestock producer groups are becoming increasingly vocal in their objections.

Livestock organizations are rallying their members against the proposed Grain Inspection Packers and Stockyards Administration rules that would place more restrictions on long-term contract arrangements between producers and packinghouses, according to the Des Moines Register.

The USDA and advocates of smaller producers have revisited an old controversy; a perceived advantage given larger cattle, pork and poultry producers to get long-term sales contracts with packinghouses at advantageous prices. Meanwhile, smaller producers who sell in the cash or futures markets are seen by some to be at a disadvantage.

The battle has become more pitched in recent years due to the consolidation of the meatpacking industry within four large companies and the increasing tendency by many livestock producers to prefer longterm contracts rather than auction sales to market their animals.

Opponents to the proposed rule fear further integration within the livestock sector and skyrocketing legal claims and costs.

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Source: Des Moines Register