USDA Nominee Will Seek Fair Livestock Marketing Rules

During the Hearing, a Handful of Senators Urged the USDA to Go Ahead with a Trump-Era Proposal that was USDA, Rather than the FDA, Regulate GE Food-Bearing Animals.


By Chuck Abbott, Successful Farming - 7/16/2021


Biden nominee Jennifer Moffitt said she would strengthen USDA rules to give farmers more muscle in dealing with meat processors if she is confirmed as agriculture undersecretary for marketing. “Should I be confirmed, I do commit to supporting trade, to supporting fair marketplace practices,” she told senators on Thursday.


During the hearing, Moffitt cited President Biden’s executive order for federal agencies to promote competition. One-fifth of the president’s 72 recommendations for action were assigned to the USDA, including a call for tougher fair-play rules in livestock marketing, a lightning rod issue for years. In a related move, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that at least $500 million in USDA loans and grants is available to expand meat processing capacity.


“Transparency is important, price discovery is important, regional processing capacity is important,” said Moffitt. “All of these things together are very important to create a fair and robust agricultural economy.”


If confirmed by the Senate, Moffitt would be in charge of agricultural marketing programs, from so-called checkoff programs and grain inspection to assuring fair competition in the marketplace, protecting U.S. crops and livestock from pests and diseases, and regulating genetically engineered crops.


During the hearing, a handful of senators urged the USDA to go ahead with a Trump-era proposal that the USDA, rather than the FDA, regulate GE food-bearing animals.


Fair-play rules for livestock marketing...