LMA Pushed for Multiple Bills During D.C. Fly-In Event

by Grace McDonald

Nearly two dozen Livestock Marketing Association members and staff met with members of both the House of Representatives and Senate, agriculture staff, and U.S. Department of Agriculture officials March 20-22, during the association’s 18th D.C. Fly-In. The event offered an opportunity for livestock auction market owners to share their stories and connect with elected officials.

Throughout the visit, LMA members advocated for the passage of the Amplifying Processing of Livestock in the United States, or A-PLUS Act (H.R. 530), and its Senate companion the Expanding Local Meat Processing Act (S. 813), to end an outdated prohibition and allow an auction owner to own or invest in a small or medium packer. These bills would provide an avenue to increase packing competition and capacity. At the same time, the bills maintain necessary safeguards by prohibiting the largest packers from owning auctions.

The auction market owners also urged Congress to update Packers and Stockyards Act prompt payment requirements in light of slowing mail service and a desire to incentivize electronic payment as the more efficient and secure method. Finally, livestock auction market owners at the Fly-In pushed to ensure that any upcoming rule requiring electronic identification for cattle is not an unfunded mandate.

Their visit to D.C. coincided with a busy and historic week in Congress. There is an active effort by Congress to overturn an administrative rule that would allow fresh beef imports from Paraguay. The Senate voted on a Congressional Review Act resolution that if becomes law, would prevent the rule from taking effect.

Livestock Marketing Association and other cattle industry groups agree that given Paraguay’s history of food and mouth disease the rule poses a significant risk to our nation’s beef herd. The same day members asked Senators to support the resolution, the Senate voted 70-25 for the resolution to overturn the rule. The vote was the largest margin on a Congressional Review Act resolution ever recorded in the Senate.

Brody Peak, LMA board member and chairman of the government and industry affairs committee, said it was a productive trip and he’s grateful for all who took part.

“I know how difficult it is to take time away from your business and family to travel across the country, especially in the spring.” he said. “But the impact a visit like this has on the industry is significant. Developing and maintaining relationships with those making federal policy decisions is key to ensuring the interests of livestock marketers are considered. Those who visited can take pride in protecting our beef industry and given the vote in the Senate, being a part of history.”

Members who participated in the fly-in were Joe Don, Brecklynn, Jett and Marly Eaves from Tulsa Stockyards Inc.; Lindsey and Julie Grant from McAlester Union Stockyards; Ben Hale from Western Livestock Commission Company & Order Buying, Inc. and Woodward Livestock Auction Inc; Jim Akers from Bluegrass Stockyards; Brody Peak from Emporia Livestock; Rich Robertson from Crawford Livestock Market; Todd Eberle from Broken Bow Livestock and Burwell Livestock Market; John Willis from Columbia Livestock Market of Lake City; Chad McNew from Greencastle Livestock Market Inc.; Kale McGuinness from Stockland Livestock Auction; Larry Schnell from Stockmen’s Livestock Exchange Inc.; Giles and Kelly Brown from Kinder Livestock Auction; and Mandy Geistweidt from Gillespie Livestock Company.

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Livestock Marketing Association

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