The House and Senate Farm Bill conferees removed the Senate’s ban on packer ownership, feeding or control of livestock from the 2002 Farm Bill, Friday.

“This provision would have destroyed good businesses, harmed livestock producers and created economic instability in rural America,” says J. Patrick Boyle, president of the American Meat Institute. “We applaud the conferees for ultimately rejecting this forced divestiture scheme and for reflecting the Senate’s anti-arbitration amendment, which would have made contractual conflict resolution an uncertain and potentially lengthy and costly process.”

The ban on packer ownership of livestock had been a point of controversy in the Farm Bill. The House version included no provision of the ban. The impact of the ban was heavily debated, including how it might affect marketing contracts and arrangements.

Also, as part of the Farm Bill, the conferees included a mandated country of origin labeling for meat, produce, fish and peanuts and defines U.S. meat products as coming only from animals born, raised and slaughtered in the United States.

Sources: American Meat Institute, Meating