R-CALF USA says final undue preference rule is "disappointing"
Cattle groups expressed their disappointment following the USDA's issuance of a final rule implementing the Packers and Stockyards Act’s prohibition against meatpacker buying conduct, saying it constitutes an undue and unreasonable preferences or advantages.
It is disappointing that during this time when the disparity in market power between highly concentrated meatpackers and widely dispersed producers is so obvious, the USDA has ignored this by ensuring the Packers and Stockyards Act protections meant to benefit producers are actually implemented in a way to favor the packers.
The USDA’s final rule undermines the purpose of the Packers and Stockyards Act by providing packers with a list of “safe harbors” to employ anytime they face a producer’s allegation that they have violated the undue and unreasonable preference section of the Act.
As a result, when producers are in need of seeking protections against a packers’ granting of undue or unreasonable preferences, the producers’ burden will shift from proving a packer violated the Act to now having to prove the packer does not qualify for any of the various safe harbors the USDA has created to protect packers from effective enforcement.
We will immediately ask the Administration to voluntarily rescind the final rule as well as ask Congress to intervene to ensure the undue preferences provisions of the Packers and Stockyards Act are not permanently rendered ineffectual.
Bill Bullard is the CEO of R-CALF USA