Meeting bodes well for small ranchers

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Anti-competitive practices of captive livestock at meat packing companies may be in jeopardy, according to Dave Carter, president of the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union. The abolishment of captive livestock plants could be very positive for local family owned cattle ranches.

During a U.S. Department of Agriculture sponsored meeting yesterday, a variety of concerns surrounding packer ownership and control of a growing percentage of the nation's livestock supply were discussed. According to Carter.

"We think that the case was made that they need to take some kind of action to help the small meat packing plants and the family rancher," said Carter.

If the USDA decides to make reforms to the meat packing plants, the four major plants that control the market and keep captive livestock would lose their stronghold on the market that they currently control, according to Carter.

"It would level the playing field and give a little more leverage to the thousands of family ranches and small packing plants like you guys have up there [in Craig], to sit down at the table," said Carter. "They would then have the ability to have some equity behind their bargaining position."

The next step is to give the findings to the secretary of Agriculture and wait for him to make a decision.

"We are going to continue to work with the USDA and lay down the information in front of the secretary of agriculture and ask if he see it worthy of taking some kind of action or not," said Carter.

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