Bill introduced that would change Packers and Stockyards Act

Photo courtesy of Envato Elements

From staff reports

The Amplifying Processing of Livestock in the United States Act (A-PLUS Act) has been introduced that would amend the Packers and Stockyards Act. The bipartisan legislation introduced by Reps. Vicky Hartzler, R-Mo., and Jimmy Panetta, D-Calif., would allow for livestock auction yards to finance or manage livestock processing facilities. This has been prohibited under the Packers and Stockyards Act because it is a way to create a separation between buying and selling agents. 

“The Packers and Stockyards Act is over one hundred years old — it’s time to modernize parts of this historic legislation that no longer make sense in the modern world,” said Brooke Miller, president of the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association (USCA). Rep. Hartzler said, “The A-PLUS Act would even the playing field and fix these regulations for the benefit of our livestock auctions and small packers.” Rep. Panetta noted that removing outdated regulations would be a way to support small businesses, increase competition and drive down costs to consumers.

The bill, supported by the USMCA and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association would require USDA to revise the code of federal regulations and allow market agencies to have ownership in or the ability to finance meatpacking operations as long as the entity has a cumulative slaughter capacity of less than 2,000 head per day or 700,000 animals per year. 

Clint Berry, chairman of the NCBA’s Livestock Marketing Council, noted the need for new packing facilities has become a critical issue for the cattle industry.

“Huge amounts of capital are required to get new facilities up and running,” Berry said. “Understanding the need for these new facilities, producers themselves have invested in these efforts, but outdated regulations still prevent livestock markets from having ownership in packing facilities. The A-PLUS Act paves the way for the marketing segment of the cattle industry to be included as investors in these facilities, helping reduce dependence on major packers and improving the competitiveness of the live cattle market.”

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