OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (Sept. 27, 2022) – Livestock Marketing Association (LMA) members and staff traveled to Washington D.C. September 18-20, 2022, for the LMA D.C. Fly In. This was the first LMA D.C. Fly In hosted by the association since spring of 2020. Over the course of two days, approximately 50 LMA members and staff met with Senators, U.S. Representatives, Congressional staff people, and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) officials.
LMA members advocated for Congress to pass bills that would update an outdated Packers and Stockyards Act rule prohibiting owning both a livestock auction and a packer. This is an antiquated rule that predates the current, transparent method of selling livestock at an open auction. A pair of bills would address this issue by allowing livestock auction owners to invest in small and regional packers. At the same time, very large packers would still be prohibited from owning a livestock auction. The Amplifying Processing of Livestock in the United States (A-PLUS) Act (H.R. 7438) is being championed by Representatives Vicky Hartzler (R-MO) and Jimmy Panetta (D-CA). The Senate companion, the Expanding Local Meat Processing Act (S.4709) is being championed by Senators Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM) and Joni Ernst (R-IA). LMA members also spoke about a need to update Packers and Stockyards Act prompt payment requirements due to slowing mail service and a desire to incentivize electronic payment as the more efficient method.
Fly In attendees also met with leadership of the USDA Packers and Stockyards (P&S) Division; Andy Green, USDA Senior Advisor for Fair and Competitive Markets; and Dr. Rosemary Sifford, Chief Veterinary Officer of the United States and USDA APHIS VS Deputy Administrator.
In addition to meetings with legislators and regulators, LMA hosted a briefing to educate staff of the House of Representatives and Senate on the livestock marketing industry. The briefing featured Will Epperly, 2022 World Livestock Auctioneer Champion, mock selling pies to legislative staff to simulate the process of buyers purchasing livestock in an auction market.
“I’m thrilled with the LMA members and staff who took time out of their busy schedules to engage with decision makers at the D.C. Fly In” said Chelsea Good, LMA Vice President of Government and Industry Affairs & Legal. “Participants made an important commitment not only for their own businesses but our industry as a whole. Developing personal relationships with legislative offices, building a base understanding of the livestock marketing industry, and discussing current issues are all key to making sure livestock market interests are well represented in federal policy.”
LMA members who attended this year’s D.C. Fly In were Jim Akers, Ky.; Randel Arnett, Ky.; Mark Barnett, Tn. & Ky.; Jade Baumeister, Texas; Will Epperly, Iowa; Jerry Etheredge, Ala.; Sara Evans, Ky.; Darrell Ford, Ark.; Aimee, Ben and Seth Hale, Texas & Okla.; Ashley and Peyton Hale, Okla.; Jennifer Houston, Tenn.; Alisha Hudson-Roach, Va.; Matt and Wendy Huntley, Kan. & Okla.; Cale and Nicole James, Okla.; Bracken Marburger, Texas.; Paike, Sami and Skye McNiel, Okla.; Joe Nelson, Minn.; Jake Parnell, Calif.; Brody Peak, Kan.; George Raftopoulus, Colo.; Steve Sterchi, Ky.; Mike VanMaanen, Mo.; Melody Varner, Okla.; Chandra and Ryan Wegener, Kan.; Elizabeth and Ryan Zeltwanger, Kan.; and Cheyenne and Zach Zumstein, Idaho.
LMA staff who attended D.C. Fly In included Natalie Ayers, Communications and Strategic Media Coordinator; Joe Barbour, Region Executive Officer; Pierce Bennett, Director of Government and Industry Affairs; Jesse Carver, Region Executive Officer; Chelsea Good, Vice President of Government and Industry Affairs & Legal; Izabella Michitsch, Director of Events; Jara Settles, General Counsel & Vice President of Risk Mitigation; Lucas Simmer, Government and Industry Affairs Administrator; Dan Stark, Chief Financial Officer, Craig Taylor, Region Executive Officer; and Cynthia Zamora, Financial Risk Mitigation Associate.
Local livestock markets across the country work hard to bring in multiple buyers to bid competitively on sale day, providing true price discovery of the value of all types of livestock, maximizing the return to the seller. At the same time, they provide buyers with a centralized location with a ready supply of livestock in the offering. The D.C. Fly In is an opportunity to share with policy makers the importance of these businesses and to ensure that they are not overly regulated in ways that impede progress.