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Ag Groups Support Bill to Increase Meatpacking Capacity
USAgNet - 05/16/2022

Livestock organizations threw their support behind legislation that would allow livestock auction market owners to invest in or own small and medium meatpacking operations. In a letter sent Thursday to the leadership of the agriculture committees in the Senate and House, the National Pork Producers Council, the American Sheep Industry Association, the Livestock Marketing Association, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, and the United States Cattlemen’s Association asked that the “Amplifying Processing of Livestock in the United States,” or A-PLUS Act (H.R. 7438) be considered and advanced.

The livestock groups noted that supply chain challenges and a lack of packing capacity have negatively affected consumers and producers. To remedy that, livestock auction owners have expressed interest in getting involved in the meatpacking business. But the Packers and Stockyards Act prohibits owning both an auction company and a packing firm or a meat marketing business based on decades-old concerns about the transparency of livestock transactions.

Now, however, livestock are sold at open auctions where sellers can view transactions in person or online. (Very few hogs are sold through auctions.) The A-PLUS Act would allow investments in processors harvesting less than 2,000 head per day or 700,000 head a year, reflecting the size of processing in the beef industry. NPPC will support an amendment to the bill with a proportionate number based on current daily and annual pork processing.

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