Ruling the Roost: USDA’s New Packers and Stockyards Act Rule

Mar 8, 2024

New rule, who this?


A new rule from USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service aims to protect farmers and ranchers from retaliation with businesses they have contracts with.


Fair play? The provision – Inclusive Competition and Market Integrity Act – is in the Packers and Stockyards Act and prohibits the adverse treatment of livestock producers and poultry growers in terms of discrimination. The act also protects producers from retaliatory actions if they engage in certain activities, including:

  • Lawful communications
  • Refusals to communicate
  • Participating in co-ops or associations
  • Entering into an agreement with a competitor

Soundbite: “The Packers and Stockyards Act prohibits unjust discrimination, undue prejudice, and deception. This final rule will provide for a clearer, more effective standard by which to govern all of this in the modern marketplace.” –Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack


Bidenomics: This is a series of rules that are part of President Biden’s Executive Order on Promoting Competition in America’s Economy – an effort to increase competition in ag markets, encourage a fair playing field for small- and mid-size farmers and lower food costs for consumers.


Ruffled industry feathers: Although, some groups think it’ll do the opposite. Several industry trade organizations aren’t meating the news with a happy handshake. The president and CEO of the North American Meat Institute, Julie Anna Potts, says the changes are “more federal authority to regulate the equities of industry practices…”


The National Chicken Council is also concerned about the rule, indicating the Biden administration is “anti-business” in its regulatory agenda. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association hopes the rule “remains focused on its stated objective and doesn’t stray into extraneous, unrelated subject matter…”


Next steps: The rule will go into effect 60 days following publication in the Federal Register.

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