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Producers urged to attend USDA Livestock Forum

AURORA, COLO.>>Rocky Mountain Farmers Union (RMFU) is urging all producers of livestock to attend a Sept. 21 U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) public forum on captive supplies in the livestock industry. The forum will be held from 8 am to 5:30 pm at the Holiday Inn Denver International Airport, located at I-70 and Chambers Rd.

RMFU supports prohibiting livestock processing and marketing firms from also owning cattle, a practice known as captive supplies. The Western Organization of Resource Councils (WORC) has filed a petition with USDA, requesting that packing companies be restricted in their use of contracts and packer-owned cattle. “Packer ownership of cattle, along with unreported contracting for cattle enables the large multinational packers to procure cattle without bidding for them in the marketplace,” said RMFU President Dave Carter. “Such practices create a monopoly in the market, driving down prices for independent producers.”

The forum will provide the opportunity for the public to submit written comments, for farm organizations to offer testimony concerning the problems or benefits of captive supplies and for two panels to debate and discuss questions on the topic. One panel will discuss the WORC petition and concerns about packer ownership and control of livestock. The second panel will focus on how captive supplies affect competition.

Those who are unable to attend the forum may send written statements, which must be postmarked on or before Sept. 28, to Shannon Hamm, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1400 Independence Ave. SW. STOP 3601, Washington, D.C. 20250-3601/Fax: 202-205-9237.

“I would urge any producer who can possibly do so to attend this forum. That failing, we are urging everyone to send in their statements to USDA,” Carter said.