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Strong competition bill introduced in Senate

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HAY MAKER

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IN THE NEWS:



Competitive Market bill introduced



Strong competition bill introduced in Senate

Dan Looker

Farm Business Editor

Agriculture Online

2/16/2006



A bipartisan group of Senators introduced a bill today that would give USDA clout to enforce laws against unfair price manipulation in livestock markets as well as strengthening the ability of all farmers to bargain for fair prices from processors.



"The Competitive and Fair Agricultural Markets Act of 2006" has the backing of Senator Tom Harkin, and Iowan who's the ranking Democrat on the Senate Agriculture Committee, and two Republican Senators from Wyoming, Mike Enzi and Craig Thomas, who is also on the Ag Committee.



The bill strengthens the Packers and Stockyards Act, defining for the first time in 80 years the unfair pricing practices banned by that law, said Enzi.



"Recent actions by courts across the country have put producers on the defensive. They've been forced to carry an unfair burden by being required to show the competitive harm to themselves as well as to everyone in the industry. This is an almost impossible situation. This bill would put fairness into the system by making it so producers only have to prove competitive harm to themselves for the particular case in question," said Enzi.



Harkin told reporters Thursday that the bill "would light a fire under USDA to enforce the law."



A recent investigation of USDA requested by Harkin showed that the Department not only isn't enforcing the Packers and Stockyards Act, it prevented USDa employees from investigating complaints of unfair pricing. It even covered up its lack of enforcement.



The bill would take those employees out of the Grain Inspection Packers and Stockyards Administration and put them under a Special Counsel appointed by the President and approved by the Senate.



The bill also bans deceptive practices by companies that contract with producers for farm commodities.



And it strengthens another law, the Agricultural Fair Practices Act of 1967. This law is intended to protect farmers who form bargaining groups from retribution by processors. But the law also has a "disclaimer clause" that says processors don't' have to bargain with farmers. The Enzi-Harkin-Thomas bill would remove that disclaimer clause.



That part of the law would apply to all commodities, not just livestock, Harkin's spokesman, Dave Townsend told Agriculture Online Thursday.



When asked if the bill has a good chance of passage this year, Townsend said it's part of the groundwork that Harkin is laying for the next Farm Bill and that it may be tough to get it passed in an election year.



"We understand the political environment isn't such that a stand-alone bill is going to sail through the Senate," he said.



The bill already has the backing of several farm groups, including National Farmers Union and the Sustainable Agriculture Coalition.



"The Competitive and Fair Agricultural Markets Act of 2006 will work to combat the increased consolidation that currently dominates many of our markets," NFU President Dave Frederickson said. "This legislation would prohibit unfair or deceptive practices, and is a step toward ensuring farmers and ranchers do not continue to be victims of anticompetitive practices."



National Farmers Union regularly commissions academic studies to examine the continuing trend of ownership concentration and control of the American food system. The most recent study, released one year ago, revealed concentration levels continue to rise in nearly every sector of agriculture production and processing.



The Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, in a statement released by its lobbyist, Ferd Hoefner, said the group "is pleased to join with other farm groups in support of this critically needed legislation to redress the failure of USDA to enforce the longstanding prohibition against unfair and anti-competitive behavior in the marketplace."



The group backing the bill also includes R-CALF USA, the Organization for Competitive Markets, Campaign for Contract Agriculture Reform, Center for Rural Affairs, National Contract Poultry Growers Association and Land Stewardship Project.



You can find more information about the bill at: http://harkin.senate.gov/agriculture/CommStaffConcentrationPaper.pdf
 

Big Muddy rancher

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National Farmers Union regularly commissions academic studies to examine the continuing trend of ownership concentration and control of the American food system. The most recent study, released one year ago, revealed concentration levels continue to rise in nearly every sector of agriculture production and processing.

What about farm size? Are they going to legislate the number of cows one corporation can own. The NFU wants to go back to Homestaed days so why not 25 cows? That should set things back 100 years.
 

Econ101

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Big Muddy rancher said:
National Farmers Union regularly commissions academic studies to examine the continuing trend of ownership concentration and control of the American food system. The most recent study, released one year ago, revealed concentration levels continue to rise in nearly every sector of agriculture production and processing.

What about farm size? Are they going to legislate the number of cows one corporation can own. The NFU wants to go back to Homestaed days so why not 25 cows? That should set things back 100 years.

BMR, as a "leader" in the cattle business in Canada, you have the right to work on a bill like the one you mention in Canada. Good luck. Your points have nothing to do with this article, however.
 

PORKER

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Its all about the FDA -USDA as Harkin told reporters Thursday that the bill "would light a fire under USDA to enforce the law."



A recent investigation of USDA requested by Harkin showed that the Department not only isn't enforcing the Packers and Stockyards Act, it prevented USDa employees from investigating complaints of unfair pricing. It even covered up its lack of enforcement.



The bill would take those employees out of the Grain Inspection Packers and Stockyards Administration and put them under a Special Counsel appointed by the President and approved by the Senate.
 

ocm

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Big Muddy rancher said:
National Farmers Union regularly commissions academic studies to examine the continuing trend of ownership concentration and control of the American food system. The most recent study, released one year ago, revealed concentration levels continue to rise in nearly every sector of agriculture production and processing.

What about farm size? Are they going to legislate the number of cows one corporation can own. The NFU wants to go back to Homestaed days so why not 25 cows? That should set things back 100 years.

There is nothing like what you are describing here in the bill. You should read it before you criticize it.

By volume, most of it concerns poultry, limiting some of the blatant abuses some poultry growers have suffered.

There is also phraseology that would end what the 11th Circuit has done with the requirement to show harm to competition in order to prevail. Kind of like I said before, sometimes losing is winning. This would not have happened legislatively if Pickett hadn't gone (so far) the way it did. Thomas and Enzi are fittingly from Wyoming, the same state as the original author of the Packers and Stockyards Act of 1921. The idea is to restore the original meaning of the Act.
 
A

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OCM: "There is also phraseology that would end what the 11th Circuit has done with the requirement to show harm to competition in order to prevail."

What a spin job. That's like the dems arguing about WMD as if it was the only reason for the war in Iraq.

There was no proof of market manipulation. NONE! Dropping your price in the cash market to reflect your purchases in the formula market is not market manipulation. Besides, Tyson is not "THE MARKET", Tyson is "A MARKET WITHIN THE MARKET". Unless you can prove that Tyson, Excel, and Swift colluded to drop prices, THEN YOU GOT NOTHING. That's why you lost. Not some cheesy excuse that Tyson was not able to compete with their competition because they were not able to manipulate markets.

Explain to me why Tyson can only "PERIODICALLY" manipulate markets. Let's hear it. Why is Tyson's beef division losing money now when they could "SUPPOSEDLY" be manipulating markets?

I already know you will divert that question because you can't answer it.


Here's three other questions for you to dance around:

1. What was the proof of market manipulation that Pickett provided?

2. Did John Lockie work for OCM?

3. Name me one recently formed cattle organization that is not involved in lobbying?


Let me give you a piece of advise that you probably already know. Stay in a format where you can make statements without having to answer questions. That way you can at least believe that your positions have merit. A good lawyer would tear you to shreds on the witness stand.

YOU GOT NOTHING OCM, PERIOD!


~SH~
 

Sandhusker

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SH, if you claim that packers are simply lowering their prices as their needs are met, why aren't prices always lower at the end of the week?
 

Econ101

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~SH~ said:
OCM: "There is also phraseology that would end what the 11th Circuit has done with the requirement to show harm to competition in order to prevail."

What a spin job. That's like the dems arguing about WMD as if it was the only reason for the war in Iraq.

There was no proof of market manipulation. NONE! Dropping your price in the cash market to reflect your purchases in the formula market is not market manipulation. Besides, Tyson is not "THE MARKET", Tyson is "A MARKET WITHIN THE MARKET". Unless you can prove that Tyson, Excel, and Swift colluded to drop prices, THEN YOU GOT NOTHING. That's why you lost. Not some cheesy excuse that Tyson was not able to compete with their competition because they were not able to manipulate markets.

Explain to me why Tyson can only "PERIODICALLY" manipulate markets. Let's hear it. Why is Tyson's beef division losing money now when they could "SUPPOSEDLY" be manipulating markets?

I already know you will divert that question because you can't answer it.


Here's three other questions for you to dance around:

1. What was the proof of market manipulation that Pickett provided?

2. Did John Lockie work for OCM?

3. Name me one recently formed cattle organization that is not involved in lobbying?


Let me give you a piece of advise that you probably already know. Stay in a format where you can make statements without having to answer questions. That way you can at least believe that your positions have merit. A good lawyer would tear you to shreds on the witness stand.

YOU GOT NOTHING OCM, PERIOD!


~SH~

SH, the London vs. Fielddale Farms case that was cited in the Pickett case by the 11the circuit had nothing to do with your definition of "market manipulation". It was another case where the courts set aside the jury verdict. Did you know that?

If you believe the definition of a "good lawyer" is to tear someone to shreds on the witness stand instead of getting at the "truth" through good cross examination, then you have given in to the fault of our judicial system. It is one where the truth is obscured through courtroom theatrics. Judges should be refereeing these antics better and not allowing them to overule the truth. I find it funny that you tout this tactic with all your bias towards the "truth".

Now, what does your above post have to do with the thread? Are you diverting again?
 

ocm

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Econ101 said:
~SH~ said:
OCM: "There is also phraseology that would end what the 11th Circuit has done with the requirement to show harm to competition in order to prevail."

What a spin job. That's like the dems arguing about WMD as if it was the only reason for the war in Iraq.

There was no proof of market manipulation. NONE! Dropping your price in the cash market to reflect your purchases in the formula market is not market manipulation. Besides, Tyson is not "THE MARKET", Tyson is "A MARKET WITHIN THE MARKET". Unless you can prove that Tyson, Excel, and Swift colluded to drop prices, THEN YOU GOT NOTHING. That's why you lost. Not some cheesy excuse that Tyson was not able to compete with their competition because they were not able to manipulate markets.

Explain to me why Tyson can only "PERIODICALLY" manipulate markets. Let's hear it. Why is Tyson's beef division losing money now when they could "SUPPOSEDLY" be manipulating markets?

I already know you will divert that question because you can't answer it.


Here's three other questions for you to dance around:

1. What was the proof of market manipulation that Pickett provided?

2. Did John Lockie work for OCM?

3. Name me one recently formed cattle organization that is not involved in lobbying?


Let me give you a piece of advise that you probably already know. Stay in a format where you can make statements without having to answer questions. That way you can at least believe that your positions have merit. A good lawyer would tear you to shreds on the witness stand.

YOU GOT NOTHING OCM, PERIOD!


~SH~

SH, the London vs. Fielddale Farms case that was cited in the Pickett case by the 11the circuit had nothing to do with your definition of "market manipulation". It was another case where the courts set aside the jury verdict. Did you know that?

If you believe the definition of a "good lawyer" is to tear someone to shreds on the witness stand instead of getting at the "truth" through good cross examination, then you have given in to the fault of our judicial system. It is one where the truth is obscured through courtroom theatrics. Judges should be refereeing these antics better and not allowing them to overule the truth. I find it funny that you tout this tactic with all your bias towards the "truth".

Now, what does your above post have to do with the thread? Are you diverting again?

Thanks, Econ, ~SH~ knowing what I'm talking about is not a prerequisite for him to post a response.

What this bill would do is take out all the bad court decisions relating to the PSA and move the plain language and interpretation back to that of 1921.

It would be kind of like fixing eminent domain by passing legislation that overcomes Kelo. Who but those who don't like literal interpretation of statutes could be against that?

Do you suppose the games wardens of South Dakota can make up the law as they go along, or do they have to follow it literally?
 

agman

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Sandhusker said:
SH, if you claim that packers are simply lowering their prices as their needs are met, why aren't prices always lower at the end of the week?

They don't always have their needs met at the end of the week. Alot depends upon the level of forward product sales also additional forward prodcut sales may evolve during the week. Margins and expected market trends also dictate how many cattle they want in inventory. Demand is not static, it is dynamic.

Would you not recommend to your rancher clients to purchase feed needs if price are expected to advance and shorten inventories if supplies are burdensome and prices are expected to trend lower. I expect you would do just that. Why would you expect the packer to act any differently in managing his inventory?
 

Sandhusker

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agman said:
Sandhusker said:
SH, if you claim that packers are simply lowering their prices as their needs are met, why aren't prices always lower at the end of the week?

They don't always have their needs met at the end of the week. Alot depends upon the level of forward product sales also additional forward prodcut sales may evolve during the week. Margins and expected market trends also dictate how many cattle they want in inventory. Demand is not static, it is dynamic.

Would you not recommend to your rancher clients to purchase feed needs if price are expected to advance and shorten inventories if supplies are burdensome and prices are expected to trend lower. I expect you would do just that. Why would you expect the packer to act any differently in managing his inventory?

You don't think SH can answer his own questions?
 

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