The emails were flying this week, as it was anticipated that Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) would offer on the floor of the U.S. Senate an amendment to ban packer ownership of cattle when the Senate’s version of the 2012 farm bill is brought to the floor. The reason it wasn’t offered during the markup of the bill was that it never had the votes to get out of the Ag Committee. Thus, there is hope that if senators from enough non-farm states join in, that it might have a chance in front of the entire Senate.
Anyone who follows such amendments that are brought to the floor understands they’re largely done for political posturing. Of course, a ban on packer ownership is unlikely to change the course of many elections, but it does get the grass roots going.
Issues such as this, brought up in this way, however, aren’t about governing; they’re raw meat to get special interest groups fired up for the election. It serves to draw a distinction between those organizations and the larger organizations that represent the vast majority of producers.
Thus, the odds are that we’ll be talking about this topic again in 2014.