Livestock Marketing Association praises Congress for Packers and Stockyards Act modernization
September 29, 2016
WASHINGTON D.C. – Livestock Marketing Association (LMA) President Jerry Etheredge praised Congress for their swift action in passing H.R. 5883, the Technical and Clarifying Amendments to the Packers and Stockyards Act of 2016. The bill passed the U.S. House of Representatives on Monday, September 26 and the U.S. Senate on Thursday, September 29.
"We commend Congress in the passing of this legislation, which updates the Packers and Stockyards Act with common-sense changes that helps bring the law into the 21st Century," said Etheredge. "We especially thank House and Senate Agriculture Committee leadership, H.R. 5883 sponsor Representative David Rouzer, and Senate companion S. 3350 sponsors Senators Thad Cochran and Jon Tester."
The P&S Act was enacted in 1921. Much has changed in the marketing and banking industry since that time. This was highlighted in a nine-stop listening tour LMA completed in 2015 to get feedback from livestock auction markets and professional buyers regulated by the law as well as broader industry conversations.
In July, Livestock and Foreign Agriculture Subcommittee Chairman David Rouzer (R-NC) introduced HR 5883, taking a first step by making two targeted changes.
First, HR 5883 clarifies that P&S Act requirements apply to online and video auctions that are charging a commission or other fee and handling funds due to sellers. Businesses currently selling livestock online, including many LMA members, already follow the law's prompt payment, custodial account, and bonding requirements. However, the lack of clear USDA authority in this area is concerning. This change ensures that farmers and ranchers selling through online and video auctions are provided similar protections as those who sell at a fixed-facility livestock market.
Second, HR 5883 explicitly allows the use of modern electronic payment methods, such as Automated Clearing House (A.C.H.) payments, as an option for people covered by the P&S Act to meet prompt payment requirements. Currently, Section 409 refers to only two forms of payment to meet the prompt payment requirement: checks in the mail and wire transfers.
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H.R. 5883 advanced through the House Agriculture Committee under the leadership of Chairman Mike Conaway and Ranking Member Collin Peterson before passing in the full House and Senate. Additional cosponsors of the H.R. 5883 include Representatives Scott DesJarlais (R-TN), Andy Barr (R-KY), Trent Kelly (R-MS), Vicky Hartzler (R-MO), Thomas Rooney (R-FL), Jim Costa (D-CA), David Young (R-IA), Water B. Jones, Jr. (R-NC), Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), Steven M. Palazzo (R-MS), Mike Rogers (R-AL), and Robert Pittenger (R-NC). The senate companion bill, S. 3350, was sponsored by Senators Thad Cochran (R-MS) and Jon Tester (D-MT).
The American Farm Bureau Federation, American Sheep Industry Association, Livestock Marketing Association, National Cattlemen's Beef Association, National Farmers Union, National Livestock Producers Association, and United States Cattlemen's Association wrote the Chairmen and Ranking Members of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees supporting H.R. 5883.
–Livestock Marketing Association