The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is taking action to improve market conditions for poultry farmers. USDA has proposed a rule that will provide more transparency in poultry growing contracts and tournaments. The announcement of the proposed rule is the first in a suite of actions the Biden Administration is undertaking to improve market fairness for poultry, livestock, and hog producers.
“AFBF appreciates USDA working to create more transparency in the poultry industry. Farmers deserve to know what they are getting into, and to understand how they are being paid,” American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall said in a news release. “Making sure farmers have access to important information about their poultry company, inputs, stocking densities and feed disruptions is good for everyone in the food value chain.”
The proposed rule under the Packers and Stockyards Act is aimed at protecting poultry farmers from abuse. It would require poultry companies to provide key information to contract poultry producers. Companies would need to divulge details about the inputs being provided and disclose what type of compensation farmers can expect. Contracts would also be required to contain guaranteed annual flock placements and density.
“We are glad that the first in a series of promised rules is being introduced,” said National Farmers Union President Rob Larew. “This rule will ensure poultry growers have a fair marketplace, free from retaliation. We will review the proposed rule and share further recommendations with USDA to help ensure the final rule provides the protections poultry growers deserve.”
At the same time, USDA is seeking input from industry members regarding the tournament system. USDA is opening an inquiry into whether some aspects of the tournament system should be eliminated or otherwise regulated in the interest of fairness. USDA is asking stakeholders for input on whether the current system could be further modernized or restricted to create a more inclusive marketplace.