The Iowa Senate voted 34 to 16 last week, passing a bill that would require large meatpackers in Iowa to buy at least 25 percent of their hogs on the spot market from independent producers.
Senate President Jack Kibbie (D-Emmetsburg) backed the bill and said it is needed to sustain some competition within a pork complex dominated by a few large meatpackers. He argued that, without this bill, packers would use special ownership arrangements and contracts to get hogs, shutting out an already dwindling number of independent hog farmers.
"We need to protect the producers we've got out there," Kibbie said. "It's time to cast a vote for the independent producer."
The bill's critics contend that it amounts to government meddling in the marketplace, that it won't help farmers and could drive packers out of the state.
The bill now heads to the Iowa House for consideration.
Source: Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier