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Biden administration announces new regulations to protect producers in the meat industry

The Biden administration has released new regulations under the Packers and Stockyards Act to protect producers against retaliation and discriminatory practices by meat processors.

Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack says the proposed Inclusive Competition and Market Integrity Rules would no longer require a producer to prove the action impact the entire industry, which was burdensome to producers. “What we’re talking about is something that is individual to the producer, some action that is taken directly at the producer if it is in fact retaliation, if in fact it is discriminatory, if it in fact reflects undue prejudice, then there ought to be a recourse.”

This is the second of three rules that the USDA is developing to protect farmers and ranchers from abuse and promote market integrity and competition in the livestock meats, poultry and live poultry markets.

Chelsea Good with the Livestock Marketing Association tells Brownfield the rule likely applies more to swine and poultry producers than the cattle industry. “It really has a lot of focus on contract rights, and making sure people aren’t refusing a deal or offering different contract performance provisions based on retaliation or being part of a group or cooperative.”

The administration is also providing $15 million to state attorneys general to partner with USDA to help investigate cases of anti-competitive behavior in the industry.  The funds are being allocated from the Consolidated Appropriations Act.

Vilsack made his comments with reporters during the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture annual meeting.

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