AMI asks why meat industry is being singled out on the vertical integration issue. Compiled by staff
Presidential Candidate John Kerry has pledged his support for efforts to ban meat packersâ€™ ability to own livestock, Bloomberg reports.According to his Web site, "As president, John Kerry will fight for a balanced ban on packer ownership to protect small, family farmers." The Web site also says, "Over the last decade this problem has been compounded by vertical integration by corporate farms, which allows them to control most or all aspects of production."In response, AMI President J. Patrick Boyle says, "Senator John Kerry's support for banning packers' ability to own livestock is misguided. Packers take their cues from their customers -- retailers and foodservice operators -- who want to deliver what consumers demand. Consumers are asking for more consistent products from purchase to purchase. These signals have prompted some packers to raise portions of their own livestock supplies so that a branded pork tenderloin or bacon wrapped filet mignon tastes the same this week as it did last week."Boyle also questioned why the meat industry is being singled out on the vertical integration issue. "Numerous industries nationwide have been integrating vertically and routinely utilizing long term supply contracts to enhance quality and meet consumer demand."Noting that many economic analyses have shown that a ban on packersâ€™ ability to own livestock would hurt â€“ not help -- producers Boyle says that if packers were forced to divest their livestock holdings, the market would quickly be flooded with livestock and prices paid to producers would drop precipitously."This kind of protectionism might win a few votes in a tight campaign, but it will cost Americaâ€™s farmers dearly in the long run, because America needs economies of scale to remain competitive in the global market," Boyle says.Read the Kerry Web site viewpoint.
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