It only took one day for the State of Iowa to settle a lawsuit that it filed against Hormel Foods the day before. The two parties entered into a 10-year agreement that provides a list of rules for fairness in developing contract with Iowa pork producers.

The agreement stipulates that Hormel contract producers will have a ‘contract producer’s bill of rights’ and the ability to enforce the safeguards in court, including the prospect of receiving attorney fees if they are successful. It also allows Hormel producers to organize and use bargaining associations.

In return for Hormel’s compliance with its commitments under the settlement, the State of Iowa will not pursue enforcement of the ban on packer ownership of hogs against Hormel. It also allows Hormel to expand slaughter capacity at its Fremont, Neb., plant from 9,000 to 10,500 per day.

The state has already reached similar agreements with Cargill and Smithfield Foods.

You can read the full release at http://www.iowa.gov/government/ag/latest_news/releases/apr_2006/hormel.html

Iowa Attorney General news release