As seems to happen during every presidential election cycle, the USDA is again considering another round of proposed regulations under the Packers and Stockyards Act (PSA.) However, explains Bailey Brauer co-founder Clayton Bailey in a recent Meatingplace blog post, additional regulations are not prudent.

Meatingplace is the premier news source for the U.S. and Canadian red meat and poultry processing industries.

“While government insiders are the only ones who know what the proposed regulations will say, many are hoping the Trump administration continues its cautious approach to restricting how the industry operates,” he wrote in “USDA Should Use Caution When Proposing Meat Industry Rules.”

That sentiment is based in large part on the belief that the PSA, as well as state laws, already provide enough safeguards to sufficiently protect contract producers.

“Anyone who has worked in the trenches of PSA lawsuits has seen a broad array of issues that arise in the industry. And nearly every legitimate complaint – from animal quality to grower association membership to alleged company misrepresentation – falls within the laws of the state where the grower’s farm is located.

“Depending on the facts and where the events occurs, there may be other state law claims available to protect a producer,” according to Mr. Bailey. “The PSA is a different animal. It is an antitrust statute enacted into federal law in 1921 that addresses conduct that harms competition, such as price fixing, group boycotts, or the division of markets.”

“Nearly every initial lawsuit filed by a producer asserts a PSA claim along with state claims. And by the end of nearly every case, those claims that have the most legal support usually are state law claims because the PSA does not apply to the facts of the case.”

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