US grassroots group of farmers calls for tighter meatpacking rules
Wants more government oversight of poultry and beef companies
A U.S. grassroots group of farmers and ranchers is asking for more government oversight of poultry and beef companies, claiming that corporate monopolies are unfairly squeezing independent producers.
The group is standing behind a new rule being worked on by the Agriculture Department's Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA). The rule is aimed at promoting fairness in the marketing of poultry and livestock. Supporters said unfair and anti-competitive actions by larger, corporate meat companies are hurting producers while boosting profits for meat packers. "All we want is a fair deal for the farmers...to be fair and competitive," said Organization for Competitive Markets Executive Director Fred Stokes. "The answer is enforcement of our antitrust laws. Right now the market is rigged."
Detractors of the new rule said the new regulations will be costly and burdensome to business. "This would take money out of the pockets of our most progressive, most efficient producers and put it in the pockets of the least progressive growers," said Tyson CEO Donnie Smith. "It doesn't seem to me that is fair. We just think that what this rule would do is, it is going to add more regulation and more cost without adding any more value."
The rule was published by GIPSA in June and a comment period runs until November 22, 2010.