Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller won’t appeal a District Court decision issued last month that found that the business relationship between Smithfield Foods and Prestage-Stoecker Farms did not violate Iowa's Corporate Farming Statute. The decision not toappeal is based on considerations that the case, which was filed on Jan. 24, 2000, rested on Iowa law before the law was amended and strengthened in the 2000 legislative session, and that the Court's decision was heavily based on factual issues that would make an appeal very difficult.
The legislation approved in 2000 contains additional restrictions that will apply to this business relationship and will take effect on July 1, 2004. Chapter 9H.2 on prohibited operations was amended to specify that "a processor shall not directly or indirectly contract for the care and feeding of swine" in Iowa. The Attorney General's believes, based on the facts established in the current Smithfield litigation, that the Smithfield/Prestage-Stoecker business relationship would not comply with the restrictions that take effect in 2004. If this is the case, Miller would pursue remedies provided by the statute if it appears that Smithfield Foods won’t comply with the law.
Miller generally favors measures now being developed in the Legislature to further tighten restrictions on processors from being involved in livestock production, and to provide independent pork producers with new ways to engage in developing processing facilities.
"We remain very concerned about the impact of livestock concentration – from production to processing – on both consumers and livestock producers,” says Miller. “This is particularly true of Iowa's pork industry. We will vigorously enforce the current law and any new measures the Legislature enacts."
Iowa Attorney General’s Office