Unpacking Friday’s Antitrust News

Jul 13, 2021

Promoting competition is the name of the game for President Biden’s latest executive order signed last Friday. The order tackles competitive issues across 12 agencies with 72 initiatives.

Let’s just say there’s a lot to unpack here.

So what does this mean for agriculture?

One big change will be potential new rules under the Packers and Stockyards Act, which could help farmers bring and win claims, stop chicken processors from underpaying producers, and adopt anti-retaliation protections for farmers who speak out against bad practices.

Other hopeful outcomes include:

  • More accurate food labels that enable consumers to choose products made in the U.S. versus internationally.
  • Increased opportunities for farmers to access markets and receive a fair return.
  • Unraveling equipment-related restrictions on customers’ ability to use independent repair shops or DIY repairs.

And while we’re here… Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack also announced on Friday the USDA will invest $500M into new, small to medium-sized meat and poultry plants.

In other words, meat processor capacity is expanding, and so is the competition.

Soundbite: “It seems to me, in fairness, profit ought to go both ways,” Vilsack said about meatpackers making profits while cattle producers sell at a loss.