USDA invites comments on Packers and Stockyards Act
The Agriculture Department announced it will take comments on a rule it calls “Undue and Unreasonable Preferences and Advantages Under the Packers and Stockyards Act.”
According to an abstract on the Office of Management and Budget’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs website, “This action would invite comments on proposed revisions to regulations issued under the Packers and Stockyards Act. The revisions would specify criteria the secretary could consider in determining whether conduct or action by packers, swine contractors, or live poultry dealers constitutes an undue or unreasonable preference or advantage and a violation of the P&S Act.”
The Organization for Competitive Markets said, “USDA’s action complies with its commitment to a federal court in 2018 in response to Organization for Competitive Markets’ litigation against Secretary Sonny Perdue and USDA for having illegally withdrawn two of the Farmer Fair Practices Rules that were filed by the Obama administration to comply with the congressional mandate. These rules were the market safeguards that OCM, allied farm organizations, and individual farmers and ranchers have been advocating for over a decade.”
OCM added, “The fate of America’s family farmers is now in the hands of Secretary Perdue. Whether he will side with large transnational corporate monopolies like JBS and Tyson or stand up for America’s independent family farmers is yet to be seen. We have legitimate concerns about the secretary’s motivation in light of his statement when withdrawing the previous protections was that the abusive practices by these large corporations were moral actions that neither litigation nor regulation could solve. Perdue later eliminated the stand-alone Grain Inspection, Packers, and Stockyards Administration agency, which was charged with enforcing the Packers & Stockyards Act, and transferred its delegation to the historically big agribusiness-friendly Agricultural Marketing Service.”
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Hudspeth County, Texas — In the fall of 2019, ranch hands were gathering a bull when they noticed something out of place. One of their employer’s cows was freshly branded, with someone else’s brand.