President Joe Biden is expected to issue an executive order (EO) that seeks to address multiple concerns for the meat industry. The EO is intended to increase competition within agriculture and help to protect producers and consumers alike. Details of the EO have yet to be released, but the White House reports that it will have a significant impact on the ag sector.
One aspect of the pending order will be directing the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to establish new guidelines under the Packers and Stockyards Act. Press secretary Jen Psaki said the action will make it “easier for farmers to bring and win claims, stopping chicken processors from exploiting and underpaying chicken farmers, and adapting anti-retaliation protections for farmers who speak out about bad practices.”
The issue of labeling, which has been a significant concern for the meat industry, will also be addressed by the EO. USDA has previously marked its intention to review the standards for products that are labeled Made in the USA. The EO will require USDA to follow up the review of the standard with decisive action.
“The EO will direct USDA to issue new rules defining when meat can bear “Product of the USA” labels so that consumers have accurate, transparent labels that enable them to know where their food comes from and to choose to support American farmers and ranchers,” Psaki said in a media briefing. “The President and the USDA believe it is unfair for domestic farmers and ranchers to have to compete with foreign companies that are misleading consumers.”
The EO will also reportedly include a provision for allowing producers to work on their own farming equipment. The “Right to Repair” rules have been a contentious issue in recent years. Many farm equipment manufacturers prohibit producers from repairing equipment in-house. Psaki said the overall goal of the EO is to “help increase opportunities for small and independent businesses to boost their earnings and to lower prices and increase options for consumers.”