Biden Admin Targets Poultry Monopolies in New Draft USDA Rule

Draft rule strengthens contract grower protections against monopolistic and abusive practices

Published Jun 3, 2024

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Food System

Draft rule strengthens contract grower protections against monopolistic and abusive practices

Draft rule strengthens contract grower protections against monopolistic and abusive practices

Today, the Biden Administration announced a highly-anticipated draft USDA rule to strengthen contract grower protections against monopolistic and abusive practices through long overdue reforms to the poultry tournament system. The rule is the third of four to strengthen the Packers & Stockyards Act as part of Biden’s commitment to agricultural sector competition.

In response, Food & Water Watch Attorney Emily Miller issued the following statement:

“Today’s poultry tournament system stacks the cards against farmers, forcing them to absorb all the risks and uncertainties of poultry growing, and letting Big Chicken corporations reap all the rewards. It’s unacceptable, and we applaud President Biden for standing up to these food monopolies. Beyond merely keeping producers informed about how their contracts are unfair and exploitative, today’s draft rule proposes to actually protect poultry contract growers from corporate abuse.”

Today, a staggering 99.5 percent of all domestic broiler chickens are grown by contract growers, who sell in markets dominated by a handful of poultry monopolies that call the shots on everything from farming practices to prices. Just four poultry corporations control 54 percent of the poultry processing market.

The proposed rule would require live poultry dealers to provide growers a guaranteed base pay; adopt controls to ensure that factors outside a grower’s control do not unfairly impact their pay; and disclose more information when demanding growers make additional and costly capital investments.

Food & Water Watch has cataloged the impacts of food monopolies on consumers, farmers and the environment for years, including in our recent “Economic Cost of Food Monopolies” series: “The Grocery Cartels,”“The Hog Bosses,” and “The Dirty Dairy Racket”.

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Press Contact: Phoebe Galt [email protected]

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