When the U.S. Ag Department sets its 2019 regulatory agenda, it will deal with the unsettled matter of rules governing interactions between contract producers and meatpackers. USDA is looking at bringing back the rulemaking process designed to balance the power between the two sides.
Last year, Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue made the decision to withdraw the final rule drafted during the Obama Administration. The rule lowered the bar for poultry and livestock producers to sue the meatpacking or processing companies they have contracts with. The Organization for Competitive Markets filed a lawsuit against the USDA when it vacated the 2015 rule and elected to take no further action to defend contract growers from unfair packer business practices.
OCM says withdrawing the rule violated a Congressional mandate to have a new rule in place by June of 2010. USDA didn’t offer a reason for making the move, which OCM called “arbitrary and capricious” Attorney Karianne Jones says the Organization for Competitive Markets is only asking the courts to compel the USDA to act, and not to either compel any particular action or have USDA reinstate the rules.