WASHINGTON – Today, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued its second final rule in a series of updates to revitalize the Packers and Stockyards Act (P&S Act). Today’s rule establishes clearer standards for prohibited practices under the P&S Act, including discrimination, retaliation and deception in contracting.

“Family farmers and ranchers deserve the right to stand up for themselves when they’re the victims of unfair practices,” said NFU President Rob Larew. “Today’s announcement is the culmination of years of work from NFU and supporters of equitable livestock markets. I’d like to thank Secretary Vilsack and USDA for making this a priority and bringing fairness to markets that are in dire need of it.”

This final rule comes on the heels of a successful effort by NFU and allied organizations to keep a harmful policy rider out of the FY 2024 appropriations agreement. Such a rider would have thrown out existing rules, prevented future rulemakings and blocked USDA from making similar progress on the P&S Act. NFU has long advocated against such harmful language and supports USDA’s efforts to make needed updates to the law.

In further defense of the P&S Act, NFU Vice President Jeff Kippley penned an op-ed for the publication Agri-Pulse that highlighted the importance of the P&S Act for family farmers and ranchers. In the letter, Kippley stated, “Given the abundant evidence of price fixing and unfair practices in the livestock industry, it’s clear that maintaining the status quo won’t foster innovation, competition, or robust market oversight. It’s time to acknowledge the heavily consolidated and vertically integrated nature of the industry and enact rules that level the playing field for family farmers and ranchers.”

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