Meat companies and producers are awaiting the release of new federal antitrust rules to be enacted by summer, a schedule set forth in the 2008 Farm Bill, according to the Associated Press.

The new rules are being developed by the Packers and Stockyards Administration, a wing of the U.S. State Department that was established in 1921 over concerns about possible monopolies in the meat industry.

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Analysts expect the rules to be stricter than current regulations by, for example, limiting the ability of poultry processors to require producers to make improvements to their chicken houses. The rules could also restrict meat processors in choosing between independent and contract producers when purchasing cattle or hogs.