Tuesday, December 20, 2016

USDA issues GIPSA rules; opposition comes swiftly

USDA’s Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration released its “Farmer Fair Practices Rules” that according to USDA is to “target the most harmful practices hurting farmers” and “provide protection” to farmers under the Packers and Stockyards Act. It includes two proposed rules and an interim final rule. The first proposed rule would 1) identify certain activities that are “unfair, unjustly discriminatory or deceptive practices or devices” by packers, swine contractors or live poultry dealers and 2) provide criteria when determining whether a packer, swine contractor or live poultry dealer engaged in conduct that provided undue or unreasonable preferences or advantages. The second proposed rule would establish criteria affecting how a live poultry dealer uses poultry growing systems. The interim final rule establishes a new legal standard for proof of harm for violations of the PSA. Currently it has to be proved that an unfair practice harms the entire market in order to be a violation of the PSA. This new rule will allow an individual to only have to prove they were harmed. It overturns eight federal appeals courts rulings. It is expected that lawsuits will be filed against packers once the rule goes into effect...more

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