The Iowa Attorney General’s office has decided not to fight a ruling on meatpacker ownership of livestock. The case began over two years ago, over Smithfield Foods, a packing company, financially helping another investor to buy a hog farm. The decision at that time was that it didn’t violate the state’s corporate farming law. The attorney general’s office, in announcing its decision not to take that case any further, notes the state has considerably tightened up its law since then. Legislation approved in 2000 that takes effect a couple years from now will clarify that a packer can’t directly — or indirectly — contract for the care and feeding of hogs. Concerns over too much packer control of animals also sparked a measure in the federal farm bill this year.
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