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Farmer Fair Practice Rules Await White House OK

New federal rules are expected to create competitive, transparent markets for poultry and livestock producers. (USDA)
New federal rules are expected to create competitive, transparent markets for poultry and livestock producers. (USDA)
November 7, 2016

DES MOINES, Iowa – Rules that would help protect farmers and ranchers in Iowa and elsewhere are awaiting a final sign-off from the White House.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture submitted the Farmer Fair Practices Rules to the Office of Management and Budget a couple of weeks ago, a move hailed by many agricultural organizations.

John Crabtree, media director for the Center for Rural Affairs, says these rules will help create competitive, transparent markets for poultry and livestock producers. And he notes they are widely supported.

"The sort of iconic American farmer and rancher is something that people in their heart really support,” he states. “And so as we make policy choices and reform livestock markets in ways that help protect those American farmers and ranchers, the public absolutely agrees that we should do that."

The North American Meat Institute and the National Cattlemen's Beef Association are among those criticizing the rules, arguing they would be costly for producers and consumers.

But Crabtree counters that the rules will help balance and bring transparency to the relationships between producers and meat packing companies. Once approved, both an interim final rule and two proposed rules will have public comment periods.

The USDA reviewed more than 60,000 comments as it considered potential economic impacts of the regulations.

Crabtree says the rules come after a years-long fight for fairness and transparency in livestock markets by farmers and ranchers.

"There's no rush to judgment here,” he states. “This has been a long process, these are important reforms and, for everyone, policymakers and citizens alike, this process moves forward. USDA showed they have every intent of moving that process forward."

Other groups supporting the rules are the National Farmers Union and the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition.


Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - IA