Sen. Grassley speaks to local cattle farmers about proposed legislation

Published: May. 4, 2021 at 10:49 PM CDT
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MONTICELLO, Iowa (KCRG) - On Tuesday, Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley spoke to a full room of cattle farmers from across the state about changes to selling their animals to processing plants.

Grassley said 80% of the meat purchased by the four largest meatpacking plants were purchased from large producers outside of the state at a price higher than they offered small producers.

“We lose money on every cattle and every head of cattle that we sell,” Jon Winkelpleck, a cattle farmer from Dysart, said.

Winkelpleck and his family have been livestock farmers for generations, but over the last several decades, selling his animals to packing plants has become more difficult.

“The producer is not getting paid their fair wage,” Winkelpleck said.

Grassley said a bill he co-sponsored would open the market up to small operators like Winkelpleck while also adding transparency to how large meatpacking plants buy their products.

“The price of 50% of the cattle that they purchase needs to be negotiated,” Grassley said.

Grassley said if the plant doesn’t comply it would be fined $10,000 every day until it does. Winkelpleck and many farmers said that fine was not enough but said the conversation needs to be had to shed light on the issue.

“We want action, there needs to be some kind of accountability,” Winkelpleck said.

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