Livestock Marketing Association Looks to Modernize Packers and Stockyards Act

Listen to Ron Hays talk with Chelsea Good about LMA policy work.

Senior Farm and Ranch Broadcaster, Ron Hays, is talking with the Livestock Marketing Association’s vice president of government industry and affairs, Chelsea Good. Hays and Good talk about the policy that LMA has been focusing on. On the top of that list is the Farm Bill.

“The 2023 Farm Bill efforts are now 2024 Farm Bill efforts, but we do have four leaders in the House and Senate Ag Committees that say they are very committed to this process, so that is something we are very hopeful for is to see active work on the Farm Bill in the spring,” Good said.

Good said there are a few pieces that LMA has been working on as it relates to Packers and Stockyards updates.

“The Packers and Stockyards Act is more than 100 years old, so it is written for businesses that don’t exist anymore,” Good said.

Good added that LMA would like to see local livestock auction owners have the ability to invest in entities such as local locker plants or a regional-sized packer.

“We need more competition in the packing space,” Good said. “We have folks that are actively interested in being involved in that. We need to get rid of that prohibition to allow them to invest in increased competition.”

While the Farm Bill is a potential vehicle to move these changes across the finish line, Good said LMA would welcome any method of action.

“The Farm Bill is the most likely piece of legislation for that, but we are interested in anything that can move that forward,” Good said.

Another issue LMA is focusing on is a longer reauthorization of livestock mandatory price reporting. Good said LMR provides data for the livestock industry, so this tool is something of great value moving forward.

“Traditionally, that was thought to be something that would get reauthorized every five years,” Good said. “I would like to see a longer-term reauthorization. Potentially, the Farm Bill could be the vehicle for that, or even if it is not five years, maybe it is three or four years to get it off of a Farm Bill cycle.”

Regarding movement in the industry LMA has been pleased with, Good said the USDA’s Pilot Cattle Contract Library is providing additional information to the marketplace about contracts.

Good also gave an update on the McClain ghost cattle scheme.

“The McClain situation is probably the largest one that people are watching, and it is now in bankruptcy,” Good said. “We have seen that be an interesting and early test of Livestock Dealer Statutory Trust for some of the types of businesses that Mr. McClain was doing…”

Good said LMA continues to work with USDA to ensure that anyone who is acting as a livestock dealer is registered.

“That helps in terms of having them bonded, and also makes them play by the same rules that all the good dealers sitting on seats across the United States and buying livestock around the country have to play by,” Good said.

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