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USDA announces plan to axe livestock pricing rule

The US Department for Agriculture has announced that it will dismantle the Obama administration’s rules for buying and selling livestock.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue has withdrawn an interim final rule and a proposed regulation of the Farmer Fair Practices Rules, which was introduced in the last few months of the Obama administration.

The former Democrat administration proposals would have made it easier for meat producers to file lawsuits against major processors if they felt they were being competitively disadvantaged.

But USDA in its filing said it was withdrawing the proposal because of “serious legal and policy concerns.”

Mr Perdue said the regulations would have spurred “unnecessary and unproductive litigation” and harmed the small producers they were planning to protect.

“My goal at this point is to make sure the industry – both those in the production side and those in the buying and processing side – abide by the USDA motto, which is to do right and feed everyone.”

The move was welcomed by some of the US’s largest poultry companies. Tyson Food, the US’s biggest meat company, said the Obama administration’s proposal was over-reaching.

But his decision will have major implication for states such as Georgia, which produces the largest number of broilers in the country.

The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition said the move amounted to nothing more than appeasing industry groups.

“Farmers will lose even the most basic protections – protections that folks in any other profession would take as a given, like the ability to understand how their pay is calculated or the right to bring abusers to court without having to prove harm to an entire industry in the process,” it said in a statement.

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