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Chick-News.com Poultry Industry News, Comments and more by Simon M. Shane

Challenge to USDA Decision on the Proposed Farmer Fair Practices Rules

10/02/2018

Almost a year ago, Secretary of Agriculture Dr. Sonny Perdue justifiably rescinded rules developed over eight years during the Obama Administration which would have created legal problems for integrators and disrupted the contractor-integrator system which has function for over four decades.

The Farmer Fair Practices Rules were developed following a series of hearings organized jointly by the Department of Justice and the USDA under the previous Administration. The Rules were signed into effect on the last day of the Obama Administration.

The Organization for Competitive Markets and Democracy Forward, a group of independent farmers have filed suit in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit alleging that the Department of Agriculture unlawfully withdrew the Farmer Fair Practices Rules last year. Democracy Forward counsel, Karrianne Jones noted “The Trump Administration isn’t keeping its promise to protect America’s farmers and we will hold them accountable.”

The Executive Director of the Organization for Competitive Markets, Joe Maxwell stated “Farmers deserve a fair shake in their business deals. With the abuse of power, large agri-business corporations now have in the market, farmers just can’t get a fair deal.” He added “Without market safeguards like the Farmer Fair Practices Rules, these large corporations are being allowed to use predatory and retaliatory practices against America’s family farmers.”

Although minor and isolated abuses have been documented in the past, the fact that most large broiler integrators have a waiting list for contractors attests to the fairness and attraction of the system. Independent farmers have advantages in raising capital to erect poultry housing, they bear no market risk, they only have an indirect exposure to the effects of weather and disease, and they have no working capital invested in the flocks supplied and fed by integrators.


 
Copyright 2018 Simon M. Shane