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Organization For Competitive Markets Challenge USDA's Rollback Of GIPSA Rules Calling It Unlawful

 
On behalf of the Organization for Competitive Markets (OCM) and independent farmers from Alabama and Nebraska, Democracy Forward challenged the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for illegal rollback of critical protections intended to shield family farmers and ranchers from predatory and retaliatory practices by big agribusiness corporations. The new suit seeks to reinstate rules that prohibit major meat and poultry producers who contract with farmers from engaging in unfair and deceptive practices.
 
In October, USDA's Grain Inspection, Packers & Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) withdrew the "Farmer Fair Practices Rule," which would have allowed farmers to hold agribusinesses accountable for practices like retaliation, bad faith cancellation of contracts, or collusion efforts to force farmers out of the market. Despite the long history of such abuses in the poultry and livestock industry, USDA halted the rule, making it effectively impossible for farmers to bring unfair practices claims.
 
"The Trump Administration has eliminated rules designed to level the playing field for family farms and has instead given large multinational corporations the upper hand," said Joe Maxwell, Executive Director of the Organization for Competitive Markets (OCM). "In doing so, Secretary of Agriculture Perdue and the Administration have thrown America's farmers to the wolves, telling them that their family businesses don't matter. We called on the President to reverse Secretary Perdue's actions and he has failed to right this wrong, so we are seeking justice through the courts." 
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