Iowa’s Attorney General announced a settlement Thursday of a lawsuit over pork production with Cargill, Incorporated. Attorney General Tom Miller says the agreement creates a 10-year deal with Cargill. He says some of the restrictions in Iowa law in terms of meatpackers being involved in contract production would not be enforced in return for substantial rights given to contract farmers. Miller says the agreement gives a little to both sides in the pork industry.
He says contract production will be here, but along with it will be protection, rights and power for the contract producers. Miller laid out some of the rights that’ll now be guaranteed to contract pork producers. Miller says Cargill contract producers will have the right to organize and Cargill will not be able to retaliate or discriminate against them based on their organizations. He says the producers will be able to be whistle blowers without discrimination or retaliation from the company. Miller says the producers will also have the right to disclose the terms of their contracts.
Miller says the agreement was approved by the governor and legislative leaders. He says Cargill will be able to expand in Iowa and he says the state will be better off with this “balance of rights and responsibility and authority.” Tom Hayes is the president of Cargill’s “Meat Solutions Corporation.” He says they look at the agreement as another choice for pork producers in Iowa and he says it allows his company to do contract pork production.
Hayes says he agrees that the agreement helps both sides. He says, “It’s good for Iowa, it’s good for Cargill and it’s ultimately good for pork producers here in Iowa.” The agreement says that Cargill plans to keep its Ottumwa pork plant open and the company will give 90 days notice of any plant closure. Miller says the agreement is similar to one with Smithfield Foods that was announced in September of 2005.
Cargill has nearly four-thousand employees and 12 different businesses in Iowa located in: Albert City, Ankeny, Atlantic, Buffalo, Cedar Rapids, Council Bluffs, Des Moines, Dubuque, Eddyville, Greeley, Hamburg, Iowa Falls, Mason City, Muscatine, New Sharon, Panora, Rowan, Sioux City, West Branch and West Des Moines.