National Farmers Union (NFU) is pleased by today’s announcement that the long-awaited Farmer Fair Practices Rules, which aim to level the playing field for family livestock producers and poultry growers, have been released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA).

The Farmer Fair Practices Rules include an interim final rule that gives producers protection against unfair or discriminatory contract practices and two proposed rules that provide oversight for pricing and payment practices.

“For too long, family livestock producers and poultry growers have endured a heavily concentrated market with little protection against unfair, anti-competitive practices. We are glad that this important set of rules is finally moving forward,” said NFU President Roger Johnson. “While the Farmer Fair Practice Rules do not fix all of the fraudulent practices in the livestock and poultry industries, these rules are certainly an important step in the right direction.”

A provision was included in the 2008 Farm Bill, authorizing USDA to improve GIPSA regulations; however, until recently, lawmakers repeatedly blocked the funding needed for USDA to finalize these protection rules for family farmers.

“Both producers and consumers benefit when the markets are competitive and the practices and process are transparent. We look forward to thoughtfully reviewing the published rules and providing feedback to ensure the final rules will work for family farmers,” Johnson concluded.

Audio files for Roger Johnson’s quotes are available at nfu.org/audio.

National Farmers Union has been working since 1902 to protect and enhance the economic well-being and quality of life for family farmers, ranchers and rural communities through advocating grassroots-driven policy positions adopted by its membership.