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Farm Action Applauds USDA’s Packers and Stockyards Act Rule on Discrimination and Retaliation

— March 18, 2024

Newly finalized rule helps put teeth back into a critical livestock producer protection law, Farm Action said.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) published its final rule on inclusive competition and market integrity under the Packers and Stockyards Act (P&S Act).

The rule will promote competition in livestock, meat, and poultry markets by facilitating stronger enforcement of the P&S Act. The rule clarifies what conduct by poultry integrators and meatpackers is considered discriminatory, retaliatory, or deceptive — and is therefore illegal.

In response, Farm Action issued the following statement:

“America’s farmers and ranchers have been at the mercy of abusive, monopolistic meatpackers for too long. Today’s news is a major step forward — with this rule, USDA is now better equipped to hold poultry integrators and meatpackers accountable for their rampant discriminatory and retaliatory conduct towards our producers,” said Joe Maxwell, a Missouri livestock producer and Chief Strategy Officer for Farm Action.

“Hats off to USDA for this effort to put teeth back into the P&S Act and modernize these critical protections for farmers and ranchers across the country.”

This rule marks the second of four expected rulemakings as part of the White House’s plan to strengthen the landmark P&S Act and reinvigorate antitrust enforcement. Farm Action submitted a public comment providing the legal justification for this rule in January 2023.

Farm Action is a farmer-led organization fighting corporate monopolies in agriculture. We envision a fair, sustainable, and healthy food system that empowers farmers, ranchers, and rural communities to feed their neighbors.

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