Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) launched an online reporting portal, located at USDA’s Farmer Fairness website, to advance the goals of the “Biden-Harris Administration’s Action Plan for a Fairer, More Competitive, and More Resilient Meat and Poultry Supply Chain” (the Action Plan).
By way of review, On Monday, January 3, 2022, President Biden, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, and Attorney General Merrick Garland announced the Action Plan, which includes four (4) core strategies the Biden Administration asserts will create a more competitive, fair, resilient meat and poultry sector that will result in better earnings for producers and more choices and affordable prices for consumers. These core strategies identified in the Action Plan include:
- Provide $1 billion in American Rescue Plan funds for expansion of independent processing capacity;
- Strengthen the rules that protect farmers, ranchers, and consumers, including issuing new, stronger rules under the Packers and Stockyards Act and issuing new “Product of the USA” labeling rules;
- Promote vigorous and fair enforcement of existing competition laws and ensure that “all of government” works together to promote competition; and
- Increase transparency in cattle markets so that ranchers can get a fair price for their work.
The new tool is intended to advance the Biden Administration’s goals with respect to vigorous enforcement and increased transparency (goals #3 & 4). The online tool permits farmers and ranchers to voluntarily submit information (either anonymously or under their name) regarding, but not limited to, violations of competition laws such as unfair costs of goods and labor.
The submitted information will be used by the USDA and DOJ to take collaborative action to enforce laws and investigate potentially unfair and anticompetitive situations.
More information on the Biden Administration’s efforts and the complaint reporting tool are available at https://www.usda.gov/farmerfairness. Please contact OFW Law if you have any other questions.