A district court judge has agreed to appoint an expert on business mergers and farm law to look into a transaction involving Smithfield Foods and Iowa based hogs owned by Murphy Family Farms. Iowa’s Attorney General alleges Smithfield set up a sham company to buy the hogs to get around Iowa law that prevents a processor from owning livestock. Bob Brammer, a spokesman for the Attorney General, says Cedar Rapids attorney Eric Lam will serve as a “Special Master” in the case. The Special Master has the legal power to gather information in the case. Brammer says the Special Master will make a determination if the transaction by Smithfield was indeed legal.Smithfield sold the Iowa hogs it aquired in the purchase of Murphy Farms to a company called Stoeker Farms. Brammer says the Attorney General believes Stoeker Farms is still controlled by Smithfield and thus violates the law.
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