September 29, 2022
US President Joe Biden to protect farmers dealing with meat and poultry firms
The Biden administration has proposed new laws to toughen competition rules in poultry and livestock markets, which aims to protect farmers dealing with meat and poultry companies, Bloomberg reported.
Long-simmering complaints about the dominance of the meat and poultry industries by a small number of large corporations have erupted into a wider political discussion this past year as rising meat prices contributed disproportionately to the surge in inflation. While farmers complained they hadn't received a fair share of the rising supermarket prices, President Joe Biden and his top economic advisers accused meatpackers and poultry processors of abusing their market dominance.
In order to secure contracts for livestock or negotiate purchases, the proposed regulation outlaws the use of certain deceptive practises by meat processors, such as making false or misleading statements or omitting crucial information. An overview provided by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) states that it also forbids reprisals against farmers who attempt to band together or report wrongdoings.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, who announced the proposed rule, said that highly concentrated local markets in livestock and poultry have increasingly left farmers, ranchers, growers, and producers vulnerable to a range of practises that unjustly exclude them from economic opportunities and undermine a transparent, competitive, and open market.
The USDA said 85% of grain-fattened cattle used to produce steaks, roasts, and other meat cuts for consumers were killed by four companies: Tyson Foods, Cargill, National Beef, and JBS SA.
Due to the high costs of shipping the birds over long distances, poultry farmers in many parts of the US have even fewer customers for their animals. According to a 2012 study by USDA economists, the majority of poultry growers effectively have only one or two companies with which they can enter into contracts.
Additionally, the administration will spend US$15 million to collaborate with state attorneys general to strengthen the enforcement of agricultural competition laws.