Farmer Fair Practices Rules Needed to Address Lack of Competition in Livestock and Poultry Sectors

 In December, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released rules that provide basic protections for livestock producers and poultry growers. These rules, known as the Farmer Fair Practices Rules, are being held up by the current administration, so we need your help to get these rules on the books. Please consider sending your comments to the USDA today.

 

Wisconsin Farmers Union (WFU) has submitted comments on USDA’s GIPSA Farmer Fair Practices Rules. The following comments, provided by WFU, highlight the importance of and advocates for the adoption of the Farmer Fair Practices Rules to offer family farmers and ranchers basic protections from anti-competitive and abusive practices:

 

Wisconsin Farmers Union (WFU) appreciates the opportunity to comment on the Farmer Fair Practices Rules (Scope of Sections 202(a) and (b) of the Packers and Stockyards Act; Interim Final Rule; Poultry Grower Ranking Systems; Proposed Rule; and Unfair Practices and Undue Preferences in Violation of the Packers and Stockyards Act) published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in the Federal Register on December 20, 2016. The Farmer Fair Practices Rules will update the Packers and Stockyards Act, 1921 with basic protections for farmers and ranchers.

 

WFU is a grassroots general farm organization with over 2,000 farm families in our membership statewide. Since 1930, WFU has supported family agriculture and rural communities through advocacy, education, and cooperative development. Delegates to National Farmers Union’s (NFU) annual convention, through a vigorously debated and democratic process, establish NFU’s policies. NFU policy states support of “Clarification of the Packers and Stockyards Act to allow individual producers to seek recourse for abuse of market power without having to prove competitive injury to the entire marketplace.”  The interim final rule on the scope of 202(a) and (b) directly addresses NFU’s concerns. Additionally, NFU policy supports, “Modifications to regulations under the Packers and Stockyards Act that govern integrator fair-trade practices and strengthen the enforcement mechanisms therein.”

 

Thank you for the opportunity to submit comments on Scope of Sections 202(a) and (b) of the Packers and Stockyards Act; Interim Final Rule (RIN0580-AB25); Poultry Grower Ranking Systems; Proposed Rule (RIN 0580-AB26); and Unfair Practices and Undue Preferences in Violation of the Packers and Stockyards Act (RIN 0580-AB27). These rules, the Farmer Fair Practices Rules, are long overdue. Family farmers and ranchers operating in an extremely consolidated marketplace should have the full protection of the Packers and Stockyards Act of 1921. Over the last few decades, judicial decisions have weakened the original act, providing farmers and ranchers with less protection in a more challenging marketplace. These rules will go a long way to make sure that farmers and ranchers can continue to operate with basic protections under the law.

 

Please consider commenting on the three Farmer Fair Practices Rules by this Friday, March 24.

 

We recommend drafting one letter pertaining to all three rules, and to submit it for each rule.

 

You can provide your comments by:

~ Visiting each link below

~ Clicking "Comment Now"

~ Typing/copying your letter in the box provided.

 

Interim final rule on competitive injury: https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=GIPSA-2016-PSP-0009-RULEMAKING-0001

 

Proposed rule on unfair practices and undue preferences: https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=GIPSA-2016-FGIS-0008-RULEMAKING-0001

 

Proposed rule on poultry grower ranking systems: https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=GIPSA-2016-PSP-0010-RULEMAKING-0001

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