An executive from one of the nation’s largest meatpacking companies says a bill that’s cleared the Iowa Senate would have a chilling effect on his industry. The bill would force large meatpackers in Iowa to buy at least one-quarter of the hogs they slaughter on the open market — from independent pork producers.
Many farmers have long-term contracts with a meatpacker that buys their hogs and Gary Machan, vice president of pork procurement for Tyson Fresh Meat, says farmers like the stability those long-term contracts provide.
"Certainly if packers in this state, not only ourselves but all the other packers, have to offer less contracts obviously some producers in seek of contracts — if they’re not offered here — may well go to the fringe states to deliver their hogs under contracts," Machan says. "You might expect some flight of hogs, if you will, out of this state."
Machan says that would bring changes in the meatpacking industry in Iowa. Machan says Tyson’s four meatpacking plants in Iowa could be "at risk." Tyson currently slaughters about 50,000 hogs per day at its operations in Storm Lake, Waterloo, Perry and Columbus Junction. About 10,000 Iowans work at those four plants. Machan made his comments Wednesday before the Ag Committee in the Iowa House.