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Bill Addresses Competition In Livestock Markets

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Mike

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Bill Addresses Competition In Livestock Markets
U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) has introduced S. 2307, the "Competitive and Fair Agricultural Markets Act of 2006," to amend the Packers and Stockyards Act (PSA) and the Agricultural Fair Practices Act. Harkin says the legislation is in response to USDA's failure to "prevent unfair, manipulative and anticompetitive behavior," prohibited by PSA. The legislation would:
Establish a USDA Office of Special Counsel with responsibility for investigating and prosecuting violations on competition matters.

Strengthen producer protections by making it easier for producers to prove unfair actions by packers without additional burdens of having to prove adverse effects on competition.

Strengthen USDA's authority in enforcing the PSA over the poultry industry and making it more in line with livestock.

Prohibit unfair or deceptive practices by a person that affect marketing, receiving, purchasing, sale or contracting of ag commodities.

Provide protections to ensure contracts are clear on what's required of the producer. Producers would have at least three days to review or cancel a contract. It also would ban confidentiality clauses, allowing producers to share the contract with family members or a lawyer to help them decide on whether to sign it. Producers would be protected against premature contract termination if they've made a sizable capital investment. The legislation also prevents mandatory arbitration so companies can't prevent producers from speaking to the courts about unfair actions.

Prevent discrimination against producers belonging to an organization or co-op by removing a disclaimer clause allowing processors, handlers or contractors to refuse to do business with producers just because they belong to such organizations.
-- P. Scott Shearer, Washington, D.C., correspondent
 

PORKER

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Prohibit unfair or deceptive practices by a person OR EMPLOYED BY A COMPANY that affect marketing, receiving, purchasing, sale or contracting of ag commodities.

Can that be so hard or is it the STATUS QUO that is so entrenched ?
 

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