Perdue sets his marker on meat market fairness

 

Ryan McCrimmon, POLITICO

01/13/2020

 

The Agriculture Department on Friday unveiled a proposed rule that lays out new criteria to determine when action by meatpackers and large livestock dealers creates an unfair business environment for farmers, writes Pro Ag’s Catherine Boudreau. The latest step in the long-running debate over so-called GIPSA rules comes as producers, lawmakers and even presidential candidates have been paying closer attention to anti-competitive practices in agriculture, especially within the meat sector.

 

How we got here: The 2008 farm bill directed USDA’s Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration to beef up protections for contract farmers who supply livestock to meatpackers. As the industry rapidly consolidates, producers say they need more legal options for challenging unfair and discriminatory practices by conglomerates.

 

— The Obama administration tried repeatedly to finalize such rules, but those proposals were either blocked by Congress or later scrapped by the Trump administration. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue withdrew the latest Obama-era proposal in 2017 shortly after he was sworn in, arguing that it would have opened the door to excessive litigation.

 

The new plan: Perdue’s proposed rule isn’t as broad as previous efforts. It outlines four factors to determine whether actions by meatpackers is so unfair that it harms a farmer’s success, like negotiating higher prices with a favored livestock supplier for no justifiable business reason.

 

How it’s playing: The National Farmers Union... 

 

Julie Anna Potts, president of the North American Meat Institute ...

 

The big picture ...

 

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more, including links 

https://www.politico.com/newsletters/morning-agriculture/2020/01/13/perdue-sets-his-marker-on-meat-market-fairness-784320