YOUR TEXAS AGRICULTURE MINUTE
Adding more meat packing capacity at local and regional levels
By Gary Joiner
Current restrictions forbid livestock auction owners from having a part in the meat packing industry or even owning a meat marketing business.
It’s an antiquated rule in the Packers and Stockyards Act.
There is interest now to change the rule and expand opportunity for meat packing capacity at local and regional levels.
A bill in the U.S. House and its companion bill in the U.S. Senate do just that. They would allow livestock auction market owners to own or invest in small and regional packing plants.
Groups supporting the change include the American Farm Bureau Federation, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and Livestock Marketing Association.
The groups contend the old rule does not fit with the current, transparent method of selling livestock at an open auction where sellers can view the transaction either in person or by streaming the auction online.
Plus, the demand for local processing and locally sourced meat has increased.
The current limited processing capacity relative to the available supply of livestock also harms the bargaining power of livestock producers seeking to have animals processed.
We’ve all seen how supply chain challenges in the livestock packing sector over the last few years have highlighted the need to increase livestock packing capacity in the U.S.
Let’s hope Congress modernizes the current rule.
The preceding commentary is brought to you by Texas Farm Bureau, the “Voice of Texas Agriculture.” Called “Your Texas Agriculture Minute,” TFB will issue thought-provoking editorials each week—via print and audio—to spark understanding of agriculture in the Lone Star State and its impact on each and every Texan.
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