USDA Proposes Next Steps to Fairer Markets and Transparency

The USDA announced the next steps it’s proposing to address the many complex competition issues in agricultural markets and create a fairer playing field for poultry growers and farmers. USDA is proposing the rule “Poultry Grower Payment Systems and Capital Improvement Systems.”

The new rule would address a range of abuses that have occurred in relation to grower ranking payment systems, commonly called “tournaments.” It also addresses abuses of additional capital investment requirements that poultry companies commonly ask of their contract growers for broiler chickens. This rule is the third in a suite of Packers and Stockyards Act rules that USDA has undertaken to create fairer markets, which ultimately will lead to lower grocery prices for hardworking families.

USDA is also announcing new publicly available cattle market transparency tools. These and previous actions are intended to enhance transparency, stop retaliation and discrimination, reduce costs, and support market fairness in every circumstance.

“Under the direction of President Biden, USDA has sought to utilize every tool at its disposal to uphold fair competition, protect producers, lower costs for consumers, and combat unfair, deceptive, and discriminatory practices,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “As part of this effort, USDA committed to issuing new, stronger rules under the Packers and Stockyards Act, to provide greater clarity and strengthen enforcement under the Act. And, by continuing to provide more market transparency tools, we are also continuing to pull back the curtain to ensure every producer has access to the market information they need. With these actions, USDA is holding steadfast to this commitment, and is building ever more momentum towards delivering the fairer markets that those who raise America’s livestock and poultry deserve.”

“Poultry growers deserve a fair shake and consumers deserve fair prices,” said USDA Senior Advisor for Fair and Competitive Markets Andy Green.? “This proposed rule is intended to provide growers with a clear base price in contracts, a contracting partner that designs and operates any comparisons fairly, and access to the information that growers—and USDA—need to identify and halt coercive investment demands before growers take on large debts. We look forward to taking comment from all interested parties.”

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