Ranchers and farmers who raise cattle, chickens and other livestock would be better protected in contracting with meat processors under new rules proposed by the Biden administration.
As part of a Competition Council held at the White House Sept. 26, the administration proposed revisions to regulations under the century-old Packers and Stockyards Act. Whistleblowers about abusive practices by meat processors would have greater protection, and “unlawfully deceptive acts” in contracts between farmers and processors would be identified and forbidden. In addition, the new rules would seek to identify and protect farmers who are at greater risk of discrimination due to racial, religious, gender or other factors.
The administration also proposed a new $15 million Agricultural Competition Challenge to improve collaboration with state attorneys general on enforcement laws against price-fixing and other anti-competitive behavior.
“Highly concentrated local markets in livestock and poultry have increasingly left farmers, ranchers, growers and producers vulnerable to a range of practices that unjustly exclude them from economic opportunities and undermine a transparent, competitive, and open market—which harms producers’ ability to deliver the quality, affordable food working families depend upon,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a statement.