Proposed P&SY Act Changes Aim to Level the Playing Field

USDA recently proposed changes to the Packers and Stockyards Act in an attempt to promote fairness for poultry farmers. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack, on a recent episode of Agriculture of America, talked about why the agency wants a change.

“This is designed to make sure that the playing field is level between the producer and the integrator,” according to Vilsack. “Obviously, we want people to continue to have an opportunity to grow and raise and ultimately profit from poultry. But to do so, they need to make sure that they go into these relationships with eyes wide open, which is why we ask for additional transparency and additional information so that farmers can make informed choices. And then once we’re in the system, we really would like to be able to have farmers rely on a base pay, a guarantee, if you will, of the amount that will actually be paid.”

He says farmers don’t always get that base pay.

“What we’ve seen in the marketplace is that farmers think they had that base pay, that guaranteed baseline if you will, and that the tournament system would allow them to increase the payment with certain steps and criteria,” says Vilsack. “Well, the problem was that, in some cases, folks were docking or reducing that base pay, which put the farmers in quite a difficult circumstance. So, the new rule says we want folks to have the ability to be guaranteed, if you will, of that base pay, and then if there are additions, we want to make sure that those are determined in a fair and impartial way, that some producers are not given an unfair advantage, if you will, to gain those additional payments. So, it’s just about fundamental fairness and making sure that farmers are treated fairly, and there’s a balanced approach in that relationship.”

You can hear the full conversation with Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack from the Thursday, June 13th episode of AOA below: