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A renewed Senate push for the Captive Supply Reform Act

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Feb 13, 2005
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Powder River Cheers Progress On Beef Marketing Program

A renewed Senate push for the Captive Supply Reform Act, sponsored by Wyoming Sen. Mike Enzi and co-sponsored by Wyoming Sen. Craig Thomas, is an encouraging sign that the measure is on the move this year, according to the Powder River Basin Resource Council.

Enzi and Thomas today circulated a letter to their Senate colleagues, urging them to join in backing the bill that would restore open, fair competition in livestock markets and increase market access for small and independent beef and pork producers.

"A meat packer can use its captive supplies to pull out of a local market, driving the price for cattle artificially low, and forcing small producers to sell their product at less than fair market value," Enzi and Thomas explained in the letter. "This legislation seeks to restore open, fair competition in the livestock market while preserving the benefits of contracts."

Thomas, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, has also told Wyoming ranchers "there's a good chance" that panel will hold hearings this year on the measure, increasing its prospects for passage.

"We see these developments as real progress on a bill that will go a long way toward increasing fairness in the livestock markets," said Donley Darnell, a Newcastle rancher who chairs Powder River's Agriculture Committee. "Four big packing companies currently control 80 percent of the retail beef market, and they've manipulated their supply contracts to drive down the prices they pay ranchers in Wyoming and across the country. This measure will help put a stop to that abuse, and we thank Senators Enzi and Thomas for working so hard to turn the bill into the law of the land."

The Powder River Basin Resource Council, based in Sheridan, is made up of more than 1,000 ranchers and landowners throughout northeastern Wyoming. The council works on their behalf to preserve the state's agricultural heritage and to protect the region's precious natural resources.

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