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Iowa federal judge grants temporary stay maintaining state's packer ownership ban

(Monday, Feb. 3, 2003 -- CropChoice news) -- DTN AG NEWS via The Agribusiness Examiner: A federal judge has granted Iowa's request for a temporary stay to maintain the state's 27-year-old ban on packer ownership of livestock while the issue is decided in the courts.

"We are pleased that the court entered the stay," said Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller. "The stay order means the law that bans meatpackers from owning livestock in Iowa will remain in effect until the conclusion of an appeal."

That appeal [was] scheduled to be filed [January 30], and follows a ruling from federal judge Robert Pratt last week that Iowa's law is unconstitutional. Smithfield, the nation's top pork packer, successfully convinced Pratt that Iowa's law unlawfully hinders interstate commerce. This week's stay also came from Pratt, who is based in Iowa.

Iowa is one of nine states that enacted a law on meatpackers owning livestock. In South Dakota last May, a federal court overturned a similar state law, calling it unconstitutional. That case is under appeal in a federal court in St. Paul, Minnesota.