USDA to strengthen enforcement of Packers and Stockyards Act


USDA to strengthen enforcement of Packers and Stockyards Act

USDA has announced it will begin work on three proposed rules to support enforcement of the Packers and Stockyards Act, the 100-year-old law that was originally designed to protect poultry, hog, cattle producer from unfair, deceptive, and anticompetitive practices in the meat markets.

USDA says it intends to propose a new rule that will provide greater clarity to strengthen enforcement of unfair practices, propose a new poultry grower tournament system rule, and will re-propose a rule to clarify that parties do not need to demonstrate harm to competition to bring an action under section 202a and 202b of the act.

Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack says the pandemic and other recent events have revealed how concentration can take a painful toll on independent farmers and ranchers, while exposing working family consumers to higher prices and uncertain output. He says the Packers and Stockyards Act is a vital tool for protecting farmers and ranchers from excessive concentration and unfair practices in poultry, hog, and cattle markets.   

The agency says its planned Packers and Stockyards Act proposals will support USDA’s efforts to ensure fairer and more resilient markets for farmers, ranchers and producers saying in the last five years, stresses and disruptions caused by concentration in livestock markets have impacted not only producers, but consumers as well.