Letter: Sen. Hoeven should vote in cattle producers' interest
North Dakota's cattle producers need strong advocates in Congress for open and competitive livestock markets that reward their investment and labor.
Right now competition and transparency are lacking. A handful of huge packing companies largely control the price through insider trading on the futures market and forward contracts with no base price prior to delivery.
In response to the last farm bill, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is drafting rules to address many non-competitive practices in livestock procurement.
These rules are expected to provide much-needed clarification to the 1921 Packers and Stockyards Act, which has seldom been adequately enforced.
In response to heavy lobbying from the packing industry, the House of Representatives recently passed appropriations legislation that zeroed out funding to finalize these critically important rules.
The Senate will be considering similar appropriations legislation shortly after the August recess.
Our new senator, John Hoeven, is still on the fence.
North Dakota ranchers need him to step up to the plate and go to bat for them by voting against efforts to strip funding for these rules on livestock competition.
The North Dakota delegation has a long history of working for openness and competition in cattle procurement.
It's not a partisan issue. It's an issue of fairness for the cattle producers who are so important to the state's economy.
Sen. Hoeven needs to vote in their interest.
Link Reinhiller, Dakota Resource Council Trade and Livestock Task Force chairman, Hazen