Iowa Ban on Packer Ownership of Livestock Ruled Unconstitutional
In Smithfield Foods, Inc. et. al. v. Miller, the Federal District Court for the Southern District of Iowa ruled unconstitutional Iowa’s prohibition against swine processors owning, controlling or operating swine operations in the state. The opinion is viewed by many as crucial with respect to its potential impact on the maintenance of competition in hog procurement for slaughter, and on the overall structure of the hog industry in Iowa. The key questions that remain after the court’s opinion are whether the case will be upheld on appeal, and whether the court’s opinion will generate additional momentum for federal legislation addressing the issue of packer ownership of livestock.