One of Oklahoma’s largest independent cattle buyers is suing the Oklahoma National Stock Yards for illegally manipulating cattle prices and cheating cattlemen, which could affect the nation’s Independent Beef Producers.
Parker Livestock of Thomas, Oklahoma today filed the suit in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma claiming the Stock Yards and its auctioneer violated the federal Packers and Stockyards Act. This law was enacted in 1921 to prevent conflicts of interest and market manipulation.
John Parker observed the auctioneer buying cattle while he was performing his duties, which violates the Act. When Parker reported the violation at the March 12th sale, the ONSY kicked Parker out of the auction and banned him from participating.
From June 2009 until he was banned in March, Parker Livestock purchased approximately 10% of the stockers and feeders sold at ONSY. His banishment from the auction is damaging him and all other independent cattlemen who sell cattle at ONSY.
“When you kick out a person who buys 10% of the cattle, you reduce competition and the price paid to cattle producers.” Parker said.
Prior attempts to resolve the matter have failed but Parker’s case may have far reaching impacts for beef producers. The Oklahoma National’s Monday sale is the first auction of the week and one of the largest in the nation.
Parker said, “The Oklahoma National is very important in determining the selling price of cattle nationally. My customers, from Idaho to Florida, want to know what’s going on in Oklahoma City on Monday morning. The price in OKC affects decisions by independent cattlemen in every state.”
The lawsuit filed by Harlan Hentges of Edmond, Oklahoma and Dudley Butler of Benton, Mississippi seeks a Court Order that Parker be readmitted to the auction and for damages in excess of $75,000.
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