President Biden signed an executive order that will protect American farmers under the Packers and Stockyards Act against abuses suffered at meat processing facilities. The executive order also puts several directives in place to enforce the U.S. antitrust laws and to stop mega-mergers from happening.
The executive order will direct the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to put rules in place under the Packers and Stockyards Act that makes it “easier for farmers to bring forth cases of abuse suffered by the hands of powerful meat processors,” according to a press release. It also “calls on the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to enforce the country’s antitrust laws and protect the economy from corporate merging.”
“Farmers have waited far too long for reforms to the Packers and Stockyards rules,” Amanda Starbuck, Food & Water Watch senior food researcher and policy analyst, said. “These are important first steps in addressing the stranglehold that corporations have on our farmers, food workers and eaters.”
The new executive order will also redefine the “Product of USDA” labeling rules to definitively label beef so consumers know when they are purchasing American beef over imported beef from abroad. It also “urges FTC to limit the ability of farm equipment manufacturers to prevent farmers or independent repair shops from repairing their products,” according to a press release.
“The Biden Administration is making moves to address the growing corporate consolidation in the food system that farmers and advocates have pointed to for years, Starbuck said.”