Farm Bureau is urging lawmakers to co-sponsor H.R. 5883, the Technical and Clarifying Amendments to the Packers and Stockyards Act of 2016. Rep. David Rouzer (R-N.C.), who chairs the House Ag Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture, recently introduced the bill, which would expand definitions in the Packers and Stockyards Act of 1921 to include the use of Internet and video auctions and update payment methods to include the use of electronic fund transfers.

The 1921 law was enacted to prohibit unfair, deceptive, or discriminatory practices by market agencies dealers, stockyards, packers, swine contractors and live poultry dealers in the livestock and poultry industries. In today’s technology-driven farm and ranch businesses, livestock producers increasingly rely on new electronic marketing methods to access more buyers and improve efficiency of sales transactions. However, the applicability of the nearly 100 year-old law has been unclear for Internet auctions and other digital sales. Additionally, payment by electronic funds transfer is not clearly covered by the law.