Trump Administration moves to remove safeguards for Poultry Farmers, in favor of giant meat production and packaging companies

OSAGE, IA – AUGUST 09: Ray Avila feeds chickens on his farm on August 9, 2014 near Osage, Iowa. In retaliation for sanctions imposed on them, Russia announced a ban on food imports from the United States and other nations.Those sanctions had been imposed due to Russia’s support of separatists in Eastern Ukraine. The ban will last for a year and targets meat, fish, fruit, vegetable and milk products. The poultry industry in the United States, which exported over $300 million worth of food to Russia in 2013, is expected to be hit the hardest. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

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www.HuffingtonPost.com
by: Joseph Erbentraut

Farmers already concerned with President Donald Trump’s policies on trade and immigration just got another reason to worry.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture this week delayed implementation of an Obama administration rule aimed at making it easier for livestock producers to sue the large meat-processing companies they contract with over abusive practices.

The USDA Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyard Administration rule, proposed in 2010 and approved by the Obama administration in December, had been set to take effect later this month. The USDA postponed it for at least six months.

The government delay was welcomed by industry groups, including the National Chicken Council, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the National Pork Producers Council. The groups claim the rule would welcome frivolous, “government-sanctioned” lawsuits targeting corporations, and could raise prices for consumers and put farmers out of business.

Colin Woodall, vice president for government affairs at National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, said his organization wants the rule eliminated altogether.

“Our request to the Trump administration is that they withdraw this rule and throw it away,” Woodall told HuffPost. “We don’t believe there’s anything that can be done to fix it. We believe it’s bad across the board.”

Influential members of Congress agree. Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kansas), the Senate Agriculture Committee chairman, this week called the rule “disastrous.” House Agriculture Chairman Mike Conaway (R-Texas) similarly criticized the rule last month.

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