Recently, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced three initiatives to create fairer marketplaces for poultry, livestock, and hog producers, of which are some of the firsts in a suite of major actions under the Biden Administration.
“The Packers and Stockyards Act is crucial for protecting farmers and ranchers from excessive concentration and unfair, deceptive practices in the poultry, hog, and cattle markets. But after 100 years, it needs to take modern market dynamics into account,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “Increased transparency is the essential starting point for modernizing our rules, protecting producers, and countering the damaging effects of concentration.”
According to the release, the first initiative is a proposed rule that will require poultry companies and live poultry dealers to provide key information contract producers need to make production contract decisions best suited to their businesses.
Additionally, the USDA is seeking input from stakeholders through a separate policymaking action to determine whether the current tournament-style system in poultry growing could be modernized to create a fairer marketplace that allows more producers to participate.
Third, the USDA released a Competition Report outlining its strategy for enhancing competition in the food and agricultural sectors. With this report, USDA is also announcing plans to complete a top-to-bottom review of programs for alignment with supporting competition and a new review of the most widely used animal-raising claims to help ensure those claims are adequately verified.
“Modernizing the Packers and Stockyards Act is key to opening markets for poultry and livestock farmers, ranchers, and growers, and today’s proposed rule and advanced notice are only the first steps,” said Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Jenny Lester Moffitt. “The new transparency requirements proposed today will help restore fair play for poultry growers by ensuring the poultry growers get the truth about the financial opportunities and risks of poultry growing, including at the beginning and each time they are asked to make major new investments in the poultry operation. And by providing transparency into key operational expectations—such as guaranteed flocks, the delivery of inputs, and the outcome of tournament settlements—disclosure will help poultry growers better manage their operations, monitor for risks, and snuff out abuses early.”
Also released was the “Agricultural Competition: A Plan in Support of Fair and Competitive Markets,” USDA’s report to the White House Competition Council under President Biden’s Executive Order on Promoting Competition in America’s Economy.
To learn more about the new initiatives, click here.
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