USDA Issues Final Rule Clarifying Packers and Stockyards Act

As required by the 2008 Farm Bill, USDA Agricultural Marketing Service has issued a final rule that clarifies the types of conduct prohibited by the Packers and Stockyards Act and sets forth several criteria the Secretary of Agriculture will consider when determining whether conduct by packers, swine contractors, or live poultry dealers represents an undue or unreasonable preference or advantage. The four criteria include whether the preference or advantage: cannot be justified on the basis of a cost savings related to dealing with different producers, sellers, or growers; cannot be justified on the basis of meeting a competitor’s prices; cannot be justified on the basis of meeting other terms offered by a competitor; and cannot be justified as a reasonable business decision. The rule will be published in the Federal Register and is effective as of January 11, 2021.