USDA Reverses Some Pricing Rules on Meatpackers

Jacob Bunge and Heidi Vogt reported yesterday at The Wall Street Journal Online that, “The Trump administration Tuesday reversed efforts to make it easier for livestock farmers to challenge meatpackers over pricing and allegations of uncompetitive practices.

“Some farmers complained for years that big meat companies enjoyed excessive control over farmers’ livelihoods by leveraging their broad influence over pricing and supplies needed to raise poultry and livestock. The U.S. Department of Agriculture in December outlined the new rules that would have made it easier for farmers to contest their big customers.

“Meatpackers had argued the rules would have mired processors and farmers in costly litigation and made U.S. meat more expensive.”

The Journal writers explained that, “The planned rules would have established new grievance procedures to handle disputes between farmers and meatpackers and detailed unfair practices. The system was never implemented, and the agency said Tuesday that it was dropping the rules because of ‘serious legal and policy concerns.’

“Some poultry farmers who had pushed for the rules said they felt abandoned by the new administration and USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue, previously governor of Georgia, one of the largest chicken-producing states.”

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