USDA issues guidance on Packers and Stockyards Act final rule

The Agriculture Department today issued a guidance document on how the department will enforce the final rule on “undue and unreasonable preferences and advantages” under the Packers and Stockyards Act.

Rob Larew, president of the National Farmers Union, which has called for stricter enforcement of the act, said, “We welcome USDA’s newly released guidance, which demonstrates a further commitment to strong enforcement of the Packers and Stockyards Act. The guidance provides helpful clarifications on the scope of the 2020 Undue Preference final rule and is essential, especially when considering the rule’s shortcomings. It is also encouraging to see USDA reiterate its intention to issue three new proposed rules that could help further strengthen the Packers and Stockyards Act.

“Family farmers need fair and competitive markets, and the Packers and Stockyards Act remains a critical tool to achieve this. We appreciate USDA’s new guidance, which continues to demonstrate its commitment to fulfilling the vision laid out in President Biden’s Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy.”

Politico reported that Sarah Little, a spokesperson for the North American Meat Institute, which represents meat processors, said the trade group is prepared to work with the Biden administration on proposed rules. But she said the FAQs “are not regulations” and are “at odds” with previous court rulings that a plaintiff must demonstrate harm to fair competition in order to win a Packers and Stockyards case.


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