A debate that’s crowed for nearly 10 years with big consequences for the meat industry captured the attention of Bailey Brauer co-founder Clayton Bailey. Given his industry expertise, his guest commentary on the topic appears in the October edition of The National Provisioner.

In his commentary, Mr. Bailey says the debate recently heard before the U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals involves arguments that challenge the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s decision in 2017 to withdraw or withhold further actions on three regulations enacted during the Obama Adminstration.

The regulations withdrawn in 2017 essentially rolled back the unanimous opinions of eight federal circuit courts of appeals. Each opinion held that a plaintiff must prove harm to competition in order to prevail in court under section 192(a) or (b) of the Packers and Stockyard[s] Act.

Mr. Bailey, a trial and appellate attorney with a national reputation for his work within the agriculture industry, writes that without anticompetitive effect requirements, farmers could sue and recover damages for conduct alleged to be “unfair” or that provides another “any undue or unreasonable preference or advantage.”

The main reason the USDA withdrew and did not take further action on the regulations was the department’s “serious legal and policy concerns related to the promulgation and implementation” of the regulations.

Meantime, the USDA has said that finalizing the regulations would result in violations of the public’s right to notice and an opportunity to comment.

The appeal was filed by three poultry and cattle farmers and the Organization for Competitive Markets (OCM) that advocates “for effective regulation and enforcment by the federal government under the Packers and Stockyards Act. They have asked the 8th Circuit to vacate the USDA’s actions and compel the agency to issue the regulations.

While time will tell whether new or enhanced fair practice rules from the USDA will be enacted (a decision from the panel of judges could happen later this year or in early 2019), Mr. Bailey believes the long-term impact on the meat industry will play out for years to come.

His guest commentary can be found here: bit.ly/2yLBsSF.