Mr. Secretary, please address abusive and anticompetitive trade practices

February 25, 2016

The Honorable Tom Vilsack


U.S. Department of Agriculture

1400 Independence Avenue, SW

Washington DC 20250

Dear Mr. Secretary:

We are writing on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of farmers, ranchers and consumers represented by our organizations to urge you to move expeditiously to finalize key Packers and Stockyards Act (PSA) regulations proposed in 2010 to address abusive and anticompetitive trade practices in the poultry and livestock sectors.

The market and contracting conditions that led to the initial PSA regulation proposal persist, and in many cases, have worsened. The retaliatory actions against growers, farmers and ranchers who speak publicly about these conditions have multiplied. Deceptive pricing mechanisms continue to shift risk unfairly onto the backs of farmers, and the general lack of transparency in these markets remains.

In the Fiscal Year 2016 Consolidated Appropriations Act, Congress removed any restrictions on your rulemaking authority under the Packers and Stockyards Act. After years of debate on this matter, it is time to complete the regulatory process that you initiated in 2010.

We appreciate your leadership on this matter, and stand ready to help in any way possible in your efforts to complete the task.


Alabama State Association of Cooperatives

American Grassfed Association

Campaign for Contract Agriculture Reform

Social Services Office-Catholic Charities of Central and Northern Missouri

Catholic Rural Life

Cattlemen’s Texas Longhorn Registry

Center for Rural Affairs

Church Women United in New York State

Contract Poultry Growers Association of the Virginias

The Cornucopia Institute

Family Farm Defenders (WI)

Farm Aid

Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance

Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund

Food Democracy Now!

Independent Cattlemen of Wyoming

Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy

Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future (MD)

Land Loss Prevention Project (NC)

Land Stewardship Project (MN)

Midwest Organic Dairy Producers Association

Minnesota National Farmers Organization

Missouri Rural Crisis Center

National Family Farm Coalition

National Farmers Organization

National Farmers Union

National Latino Farmers & Ranchers Trade Association

National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition

National Women Involved in Farm Economics

Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Society

Nebraska Women Involved in Farm Economics

Northeast Organic Dairy Producers Alliance

Northeast Organic Farming Association, Interstate Council (NOFA-IC)

Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (NESAWG)

Northern New Mexico Stockman’s Association

Operation Spring Plant, Inc. (NC)

Organic Farmers’ Agency for Relationship Marketing (OFARM)

Organization for Competitive Markets

R-CALF United Stockgrowers of America

Rural Advancement Foundation International – USA (RAFI-USA)

Rural Coalition

Rural Development Leadership Network (NY)

South Dakota Stockgrowers Association

Western Organization of Resource Councils (WORC)