Sens. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) and Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) are sponsoring a bill that would amend the Packers and Stockyards Act of 1921 to end what they consider certain anti-competitive forward-marketing contracts.

The bill has been labeled the Livestock Marketing Fairness Act. It comes just a few months after President Barrack Obama made a commitment to “pass a packer ban.”

If it passes, the legislation would:

  • Require that forward contracts for livestock (cattle, hogs and lambs) be traded in public markets where buyers and sellers can witness bids as well as make their own offers.
  • Require marketing agreements to have a firm base price derived from an external source.
  • Limit the number of hogs to 30 that can be sold under one contract.

As the National Pork Producers Council points out, the bill would exempt producer-owned cooperatives, packers with low volumes and packers who own only one processing plant. NPPC opposes efforts to "restrict pork producers’ marketing options." The council will monitor the legislation as it moves through the Senate.