Posted April 25, 2013
United States District Court Judge Robert W. Pratt approved a consent decree April 19 jointly submitted by the State of Iowa and Texas Farm LLC, of Perryton, Texas, which owns and operates hog production facilities throughout the Unites States.
Texas Farm is a subsidiary of Nippon Meat Packers, Inc., of Osaka, Japan, which is a meat product processor.
The consent decree sets out the terms of a settlement reached between the State of Iowa and Texas Farm resolving a dispute over the constitutionality of Iowa’s prohibitions against processors vertically integrating into pork production in Iowa.
“This resolution with Texas Farm protects the rights and interests of the state’s contract growers,” Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller said. “At the same time it allows the company to do business here in Iowa and expand its operations.”
Texas Farm plans to expand its hog contracting business. Iowa law prohibits a processor from directly or indirectly operating, financing or controlling a swine operation in Iowa within the state or contracting with Iowa producers for the care and feeding of swine in Iowa. This formal agreement, which also institutes contract grower rights, addresses the state’s legal concerns.
Texas Farm has agreed that its Iowa contract growers will have a set of identified grower rights, including the right to be a “whistleblower,” the right to join an association, the right to use a contract grower’s lien, the right to review production contracts and the right to disclose contractual terms.
In return for Texas Farm’s compliance with its commitments under the settlement, the state will not pursue enforcement of the ban on packer involvement in swine production with respect to Texas Farm. The agreement expires on Sept. 16, 2015.