USDA and States Collaborate to Tackle Food Price Fixing and Boost Competition
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW
- The USDA is partnering with 31 states and Washington, D.C., to combat anticompetitive behavior in the food and agriculture sectors, with a focus on price fixing and gouging.
- The collaboration aims to address concerns about poor prices and unfair contracts faced by farmers and ranchers due to industry consolidation.
- The USDA will also finalize new rules under the century-old Packers and Stockyards Act to protect farmers from anticompetitive conduct, and additional grants will be disbursed to expand meat and poultry processing capacity, providing more options for ranchers.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is teaming up with 31 states and Washington, D.C., to address concerns about price fixing and other anticompetitive practices in the food and agriculture sectors. The collaboration aims to lower food prices and promote competition in the highly consolidated industry. Farmers and ranchers have long complained about receiving poor prices and facing unfair contracts from major buyers and processors.
In response to the recent food price inflation and mounting questions from farm groups and lawmakers regarding potential artificial price hikes by companies, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack stated that they aim to ensure a more robust and competitive agricultural sector. The USDA partnership with the states will concentrate on tackling anticompetitive practices, including price fixing and gouging. Additionally, the initiative will create research programs to study the issue further.
Over the coming months, the USDA plans to finalize new rules under the century-old Packers and Stockyards Act, which is designed to protect farmers from anticompetitive conduct. Two of the three expected rules have already been proposed. Furthermore, the agency will provide additional grants to expand meat and poultry processing capacity, offering more options for ranchers. President Joe Biden, known for his commitment to addressing anticompetitive conduct across the economy, is set to meet with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and other members of his competition council later on Wednesday.
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