Billings, Mont. – Today the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released the first of the three proposed rules promised by the Biden-Harris Administration to strengthen enforcement of the Packers and Stockyards Act.
The first proposed rule released today is intended to address the disparity of information between poultry growers and poultry integrators regarding poultry contracts and the industry’s tournament pricing system.
“We welcome USDA’s release of this proposed poultry rule because we know the concentrated beef packers are working to capture control of the live cattle supply chain just as they already control the poultry supply chain,” said R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard adding, “If USDA restores competition in the captured poultry industry through effective reforms, then similar reforms can more readily be implemented to prevent any further erosion of competition in the cattle industry.”
The USDA also released today its plan to support fair and competitive markets that sets forth the agency’s strategies to increase competition and strengthen its market regulation and oversight. The plan reveals that the USDA will issue a second proposed rule later this summer to implement the Packers and Stockyards Act’s prohibitions against discrimination, retaliation and deception. And later it will issue a third proposed rule that focuses on certain unfair practices and undue preferences, as well as explains the USDA’s long-held position that the Packers and Stockyards Act does not require livestock producers to show harm to competition in every instance where they have been subjected to unfair acts or practices by beef packers.
Bullard said the second and third proposed rules will more directly impact the cattle industry and his organization is looking forward to their release.
“We intend to work aggressively to offer the USDA with helpful comments in each of its three planned rulemakings to ensure their swift finalization and implementation,” Bullard concluded.
Public comments on the proposed rule released today will be due 60 days after publication in the Federal Register, which should occur shortly.