Another farm policy dispute from the Obama administration has been laid to rest by the Trump White House. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue decided not to move forward with an interim final rule of the Farmer Fair Practices Rules, which deal with harm to competition and written in 2016 by GIPSA. The agency also announced that it will take no further action on a proposed regulation of the Farmer Fair Practices Rules related to conduct considered an unfair practice or that results in an undue preference.
According to the groups opposed to the rules, the rules collectively would have made it unnecessary for plaintiffs to show general harm to competition when challenging a packer’s decision to offer premiums to producers through established marketing agreements, going well beyond the statutory language, potentially opening the gates to a flurry of lawsuits from disgruntled producers and ultimately limiting marketing options and consumer choice.
The National Pork Producers praised the USDA decision. “We’re very pleased that the secretary will withdraw these bad regulations, which would have had a devastating impact on America’s pork producers,” said NPPC President Ken Maschhoff, a pork producer from Carlyle, Ill. “The regulations would have restricted the buying and selling of livestock, led to consolidation of the livestock industry – putting farmers out of business – and increased consumer prices for meat.”