The Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced that it will delay its Interim Final Farmer Fair Practice Rules for 180 days. Currently, farmers who have been harmed or suffered damages because of an integrator's unfair practices must prove, in addition to the legitimacy of their own claim, that the company’s actions also harmed competition throughout the entire industry. The USDA’s action delays the rules that would protect contract farmers from this unfair and abusive standard by removing the competitive injury requirement.
In response to the announcement, Sally Lee, program director at Rural Advancement Foundation International-USA, issued the following statement:
“We are shocked to hear that the USDA is delaying the implementation of rules that are meant to provide basic rights and protections to farmers and agricultural communities. This decision poses a real threat to independent livestock and poultry businesses in the U.S.—it also ignores the voices of American farmers, who risked retaliation to show their clear and strong support for these rules.
“The USDA’s hasty step backwards—made without the input of a confirmed Secretary of Agriculture – undermines President Trump’s pledge to look out for American farmers and rural voters. This delay indicates that the administration is putting lobbyists and special interests first.
“When Sonny Perdue is confirmed as Secretary of Agriculture, we hope he will see this delay as the mistake that it is and work with President Trump to make good on his promises to the American people.”