The meat processing sector has been in the crosshairs of the federal government over that last several years due to increased consumer prices for meat products and complaints from farmers and ranchers. These complaints have rallied the Biden Administration to review and consider addressing these issues which are perceived to be caused by consolidation among meatpackers. Specifically, the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced on January 3, 2022 their shared principles and commitments to use the Packers and Stockyards Act (P&S Act) and federal competition laws to address complaints regarding alleged anti-competitive behavior within the meatpacking industry. This announcement is in response to President Biden’s July 9, 2021 Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy, particularly in the meat and poultry processing sector, as well as USDA’s announcement in July 2021 to begin work to strengthen enforcement of the Packers and Stockyards Act (P&S Act).
Mark counsels food and agribusiness clients on antitrust and competition issues, helping them mitigate risk in an increasingly complex business and regulatory environment.
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USDA to Begin Work to Strengthen Enforcement of the Packers and Stockyards Act
By Mark Tobey & Emily Lyons on
Posted in Food Systems, USDA
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (“USDA”) announced late last month that it will be taking measures to support the enforcement of the Packers and Stockyards Act (“P&S Act”), a 100-year-old law designed to protect “poultry farmers, hog farmers, and cattle ranchers from unfair, deceptive and anti-competitive practices within the meat markets.” The proposed revisions involve additional changes to the unlawful conduct provisions of Title II of the P&S Act as well as a menu of grant and loan programs to address problems throughout the food supply chain.…