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LET Ask you congressman to support meatpacker ban

Congressman Jim Nussle was asked on a recent radio broadcast if he supports a ban on meatpackers owning and feeding livestock.

He said the Grassley-Johnson-Wellstone amendment, which was passed as part of the Senate's farm bill, may be a good idea, but that it could force some packing plants to close by limiting their supply of livestock.

Nussle said the packing plant in Dubuque closed because it didn't have an adequate supply of hogs. I think he is wrong on both counts.

If Nussle had stood up for family farmers years ago and pushed for a packer ban on owning and feeding livestock or just insist that the USDA enforce the Capper Volstead Act that was passed in 1921 to ban packers from owning livestock, there would be more family farmers raising livestock today.

The packing plants that closed would probably be in business today, but they were squeezed out by the larger packers that had a captive supply of livestock. We would not have seen the concentration we see today due to packers owning and controlling livestock numbers.

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Family farmers always raised the livestock if there was a profit in it and they will continue to do so if they can make money on it. Nussle is talking about writing his own packer ban bill. He should cut the crap and support the Grassley-Johnson-Wellstone amendment the way it is.

Ninety-two percent of the Iowa Pork Producers Association members who were surveyed support a packer ban. The Iowa Cattleman's Association supports a packer ban; the Iowa Farm Bureau supports a packer ban; Iowa CCI and the Campaign for Family Farmers, which work with over 22,000 hog farmers nationwide, support a packer ban.

The people of Iowa and Nussle's district want a packer ban so family farmers can compete in the marketplace.

Nussle didn't support hog farmers' democratic vote to end the pork checkoff tax and now he's more concerned about losing packers than losing farmers. He should stop being a puppet for corporate agribusinesses. This also goes for secretary of ag Ann Veneman.

So I ask the people of Nussle's district, or wherever you live, to call, write or e-mail Nussle and all of the Iowa congressmen. Make your voices heard -- ask them all to support the Grassley-Johnson-Wellstone amendment that's in the Senate farm bill.

-- Wayne Demmer, Epworth, Iowa

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