Bryan Cohen Apr. 22, 2013, 5:49pm

DES MOINES, Iowa (Legal Newsline) - Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller announced the approval of an agreement on Friday with a Perryton, Texas-based hog production facility owner to resolve a dispute related to pork production in Iowa.

Texas Farm LLC, a subsidiary of the Osaka, Japan-based Nippon Meat Packers Inc., planned to expand its hog contracting business, but Iowa law prohibits processors from directly or indirectly operating, financing or controlling an Iowa swine operation or contracting with Iowa producers for the feeding or care of swine in the state. U.S. District Court Judge Robert Pratt approved a consent order on Friday to address the state's legal concerns.

"This resolution with Texas Farm protects the rights and interests of the state's contract growers," Miller said. "At the same time it allows the company to do business here in Iowa and expand its operations."

Under the terms of the agreement, Texas Farm will comply with its commitments under the settlement while the state will not pursue enforcement of the ban on packer involvement in Texas Farm's swine production. Texas Farm agreed that its contract growers in Iowa will have identified growers rights, such as the right to be a whistleblower, the right to use a contract grower's lien, the right to review production contracts, the right to disclose contractual terms and the right to join an association.

In addition, Texas Farm agreed to not impose less favorable terms and conditions in contract grower agreements on the basis of the grower's membership in a contract grower's association, not take actions to coerce, discriminate or retaliate against prospective growers for attempts to exercise contract grower rights and not provide false material factual information to contract growers or prospective growers related to other growers, organizations, associations and their rights, among other terms.

The agreement between Texas Farm and Iowa expires on Sept. 16, 2015.

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