Obama and USDA Secretary Vilsack Give up Protecting Livestock Producers against Meat Packers

Sunday, November 20, 2011
After vowing to make significant changes, the Obama administration has given up on its own rules affecting the meat-packing industry.
Years of complaints from small- and medium-sized farmers prompted the administration to do something about an industry where four companies control 90% of all beef processing, 70% of all pork processing, and nearly 60% of all poultry processing.
Part of the mission of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyard Administration (GIPSA) is to investigate complaints about anti-competitive practices. So the Obama administration proposed rules last year to protect cattle ranchers, as well as poultry and hog farmers, from unfair contract terms pushed on them by meat packers. The proposed changes would have curbed the power of big packers such as Tyson Foods and Cargill Inc., to control the prices paid to livestock producers. It would also have provided poultry growers and cattle farmers with new protections against larger agribusiness operations, including making it easier for livestock raisers to sue the industry giants that control the nation’s meat markets.
But fierce opposition from meat packing companies and Republicans in the U.S. House convinced the USDA to gut its own regulations.
-Noel Brinkerhoff, David Wallechinsky

House Republicans Drive More Nails Into Livestock Rule Coffin (by Wenonah Hauter, Huffington Post) 


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