The Missouri Livestock Marketing Law will cost Missouri livestock producers $20 million by expiration on Dec. 31, 2002.

University of Missouri agricultural economist Ron Plain estimates cattle producers will lose $11 million and pork producers $9 million.

The law states that packers “shall not discriminate in prices paid or offered to be paid to sellers” of slaughter livestock in Missouri. Exceptions are allowed for quality of livestock, premiums or discounts tied to carcass merit, costs related to transportation or acquisition or certain agreements to deliver at a specific time or date.

The law has reduced the number of bids for Missouri livestock because of the added risk of price discrimination lawsuits, Plain says. Some packers have stopped buying, especially on the spot market and for live animals.

Plain notes barrow and gilt prices at the St. Joseph, MO, stockyards have been averaging $2.50/cwt. under other major terminal markets.

A similar law in South Dakota cost producers $4 million before the courts ruled it unconstitutional.

Thirty-six Missouri House Republicans are urging Gov. Bob Holden to put the pricing law on the agenda for a special legislative session to begin Sept. 12.