Fairness for Farmers and Ranchers

Western Organization of Resource Councils Action Alert
Dear Mike,

WORC-Turners.jpgThe U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is considering new rules that would help level the playing field between large corporate meatpackers and independent livestock and poultry producers.

Join with WORC and take action to support the Farmer Fair Practices Rules.

After being blocked and delayed for years by Congress, the Obama Administration published new Farmer Fair Practices Rules in its final days. This set of three rules includes essential safeguards to restore fairness for producers seeking justice under the Packers and Stockyards Act:

  • Under the interim final competitive injury rule, ranchers contesting unfair meatpacker contracting and buying practices would not have to prove a practice harms the whole market to prove the practice is unfair. WORC and independent ranchers have long held that having to do so is an unreasonably high bar. This rule is set to go into effect on April 22.
  • The proposed unfair practices and undue preferences rule would establish a list of illegal behaviors, such as manipulating scales and retaliating against producers for talking to their elected representatives. These commonsense protections have been stalled at USDA for too long, and need to be in place and enforced.
  • The proposed poultry ranking system rule would prohibit poultry companies from targeting individual growers with bad birds and feed in a way that reduces payments and threatens the livelihood of targeted growers.

These rules will help level the playing field between packers and producers.

USDA must eliminate one provision: a loophole in both proposed rules would allow companies to ignore the rules if there is a “legitimate business justification.” There is no legitimate reason to cheat or retaliate against producers. USDA should strip this loophole from both of the proposed rules.

Comments are due this Friday, March 24. We will collect and submit your comments to USDA on Friday.

Send your comments to us today and support leveling the playing field for independent farmers and ranchers.

Thank you,

Western Organization of Resource Councils

220 S 27TH ST STE B
BILLINGS, MT 59101-4106
United States