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334087

USDA issues rule against unfair practices in livestock marketing

At a meeting of his competition council, President Biden announced on Monday a proposed USDA rule to prevent unfair and deceptive practices in livestock marketing. It was the second of three rules planned by the USDA to give poultry, hog and cattle producers more leverage in dealing with meat processors.

Biden said the proposed regulation would “promote competition in the meat and poultry markets,” dominated by four large companies. “And because four of them control 80 percent of the market, they control the price,” said the president.

“So they make more, and the ranches and consumers get less.”

The proposal, which will be open for public comment for 60 days, identifies unlawful, deceptive practices in contracts between processors and producers, would prohibit retaliation against producers for lawful communications, and protects “market vulnerable individuals” from disadvantageous treatment due to their race, religion, gender or sex.

In May, the USDA proposed the first of the three regulations, to reform the so-called tournament system that pits producers against each other in a competition for revenue from processors. Yet to come is a USDA proposal that would make it easier for a producer to prove unfair treatment by a processor.

Produced with FERN, non-profit reporting on food, agriculture, and environmental health.
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