12.14.07

Burr Votes To Support North Carolina’s Livestock And Poultry Farmers

Burr hopeful livestock and poultry provision will be fixed in conference

Senator Richard Burr today voted against the Farm, Nutrition, and Bioenergy Act of 2007 (H.R.2419) because the legislation contained provisions that would harm North Carolina's livestock and poultry farmers. The bill prohibits meat packers from owning livestock and poultry or joining in price agreements with farmers for future sale. This provision would bring a great deal of instability to North Carolina's agriculture industry, since livestock and poultry farmers would have to sell their animals at market rather than negotiating set prices with meat packers.

"I was very happy with many parts of this bill, including sections dealing with specialty crop funding, forestry and conservation, renewable energy, and subsidy reforms," Burr said. "However, I am concerned this bill could hurt North Carolina's livestock industry by restricting the relationship between meat packers and livestock and poultry farmers. I am hopeful this issue can be fixed during conference with the House of Representatives and I can ultimately support this bill," Burr added.

Many livestock and poultry farmers contract with meat packers for future sale of animals at a predetermined price. This allows the farmers to budget their income with greater certainty rather than taking their livestock or poultry to market with no contract. Farmers use these agreements to secure financing and predict employment needs, giving farmers job security. This legislation would prohibit farmers and meat packers from engaging in these contracts.

North Carolina's livestock and poultry industry is one of the largest in the nation. The state is home to over 800,000 heads of cattle, 9.5 million hogs, and 19 million chickens. It is estimated that North Carolina's pork industry is responsible for over 25,000 jobs in the state.