Producers advocating for change in the livestock industry seek to update the Packers and Stockyards Act

The push to update the Packers and Stockyards Act and how producers are advocating for change in the livestock industry.

The Packers and Stockyards Act, a piece of legislation that has been in place for over a century, is undergoing scrutiny as groups seek to modernize and adapt it to the changing landscape of the livestock industry.

Recently, the Livestock Marketing Association converged in Washington to engage with federal lawmakers. Their primary objective? To advocate for the A-Plus Act, a potential solution to address the pressing need for increased U.S. beef packing capacity and increased marketplace competition in the U.S. livestock industry. These producers pressing for change are rallying behind this proposed legislation, updating the Packers and Stockyards Act to permit markets to invest in smaller, regional packers while imposing restrictions on larger packers’ ownership of auctions.

Bracken Marburger, of the Livestock Exchange in Milano, Texas, highlights how the livestock industry’s landscape has transformed since the enactment of the Packers and Stockyards Act. In the past, terminal stockyards were centrally located next to packers, justifying regulations that prevented close proximity between buyers and packers. Today, the industry operates through open, competitive auctions that sell cattle to the highest bidder, rendering these regulations outdated.

In addition to advocating for changes in beef packing capacity regulations, industry groups are also urging Congress to modernize payment requirements within the Packers and Stockyards Act. They argue that traditional mail service for payments is slow and inefficient, while instant payment options are readily available and should be incorporated into the legislation.

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