The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) fulfilled a promise to America’s family farmers and ranchers on Oct. 14. That day the agency submitted the Farmer Fair Practices Rules for White House approval.
The Farmer Fair Practices rules are simple in purpose. They will provide marketplace protections for farmers and ranchers that raise poultry and livestock. And they will shield American farmers who raise poultry and hogs on contract.
The USDA plans to publish an interim final rule and two proposed rules this year. Together these three rules will help balance the relationships between producers and meat packing companies in highly concentrated livestock and poultry industries.
Finalizing the rules will rein in abusive business practices that have haunted livestock markets for far too long. The rules will level the playing field for farmers and ranchers. And they will reward the decades-long fight for fairness and transparency in livestock markets.
USDA has re-examined over 60,000 past comments and worked diligently to consider potential economic impacts of the new proposed regulations. Moreover, all three rules will undergo public comment periods again. And in the end farmers, ranchers and consumers will all benefit from the competitive, transparent markets these rules will help protect.
Ranchers and farmers that raise livestock and poultry have been waiting too long for these reforms. The Center for Rural Affairs applauds Sec. Vilsack for moving these reforms forward. And we applaud the USDA for staying committed to publishing rules that will protect farmers, ranchers, consumers and the entire industry.
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