The USDA’s Ag Marketing Service issued its final rule on the Packers and Stockyards Act. The Trump administration says the final rule establishes the criteria to determine whether an undue or unreasonable preference or advantage has occurred in violation of the act. The rule was published Friday in the Federal Register.
North American Meat Institute President and CEO Julie Anna Potts says the rule recognizes the importance of marketing agreements and other tools used by producers and packers and provides some clarity regarding the criteria the Secretary will consider when reviewing those tools. “However, it also introduces some uncertainty into the use of those tools by allowing consideration of other undefined factors,” she says.
National Farmers Union President Rob Larew says the rule fails to protect farmers from discriminatory practices. “In their relationship with meat packers and processors, family farmers have almost no bargaining power, he says. R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard says, “The final rule undermines the purpose of the Packers and Stockyards Act by providing packers with a list of ‘safe-havens’ they can employ anytime they face allegations of violating the undue and unreasonable preference section of the act.”
The National Sustainable Ag Coalition says the new rule fails to advance any meaningful reforms.