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MO Farmers And Independent Producers Looking for Timely Competition

September 29, 2011

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - Rural family farmers and independent producers across Missouri and the nation say they are tired of waiting on the federal government to implement a new set of competitive rules for the marketplace.

The new rules, designed to level the playing field between large meatpackers and independent producers, have been sitting on the table at the U.S. Department of Agriculture for more than a year.

Mega farms and meat packers have a monopoly on the industry, says Tim Gibbons, communications director at the Missouri Rural Crisis Center, and implementing the rules would be good for rural economies and job creation.

"This would hopefully get more farmers on the farm raising hogs again, independently, so that money can come into their farm and can then circulate in their local economy and can help Main Street in rural communities across the country."

Implementing the new rules, Gibbons says, is the first step in bringing back competition in the livestock marketplace.

"We need to then take a second step, and a third step after this, to ensure that our members - Missouri Rural Crisis Center members, but then also independent producers in Missouri and across the country - begin to receive a fair price for the great product they're producing."

Some meatpackers are against the new rules, claiming they ultimately will mean higher prices for consumers, or the elimination of some meat products consumers like. Gibbons counters that those allegations aren't true and are a diversion to try to stop the rules from being implemented.

Heather Claybrook, Public News Service - MO