Funds available to state attorneys general to enforce meat marketing laws
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Biden administration has announced two new Department of Agriculture efforts to support fair and competitive meat and poultry markets.
The efforts include publishing the proposed Inclusive Competition and Market Integrity Rules Under the Packers and Stockyards Act to protect farmers and ranchers from abuse, and a new $15 million Agricultural Competition Challenge to ramp up collaboration with the State Attorneys General on enforcement of competition laws, such as laws against price-fixing. The two efforts come from the White House Competition Council, which held a meeting Monday, Sept. 26.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says, “Highly concentrated local markets in livestock and poultry have increasingly left farmers, ranchers, growers and producers vulnerable to a range of practices that unjustly exclude them from economic opportunities and undermine a transparent, competitive, and open market—which harms producers’ ability to deliver the quality, affordable food working families depend upon. ”Vilsack, who is a member of the White House Competition Council, continued in saying, “USDA is focused on building new, fairer, and more resilient markets, protecting producers, and reducing food costs, and we are proving again today that we will use all tools at our disposal to do so.”
Earlier this year, USDA and the Department of Justice announced their commitment to work closely together to effectively enforce federal competition laws, including by launching the FarmerFairness.gov complaint portal for reporting suspected violations of federal competition law.
Also earlier this year, South Dakota Attorney General Mark Vargo, along with 16 other attorneys general sent a letter to USDA encouraging the department to act on increasing competition in the agricultural and food sectors.