GRAND SABLE, Mont. – The USDA announced on Friday that it will invest $ 500 million in capacity building in meat and poultry with the aim of increasing choice and negotiating options for producers, as well as relief from $ 100 million through exemption from inspection fees and overtime for small and medium-sized processors.
According to a statement, this funding is provided through the American rescue plan the latest coronavirus relief package, which Senator Jon Tester helped negotiate.
“This announcement is good news for family ranchers in Montana,” said Senator Tester. âThe increased capacity means more competition in the market, which is essential to ensure that people in agricultural production can make a living and that we keep the prices of meat affordable for families at the grocery store. I am also happy that the administration is taking steps towards more aggressive enforcement against the big packers, but I will only be satisfied if these actions really bite them.
The White House also announced an executive order establishing a whole-of-government effort to promote competition and reduce consolidation.
Executive Order Orders USDA To Consider Releasing New Rules Under Packagers And Stockyards Act, Orders Agency To Deal With Price Discovery, Protect Whistleblowers , increase opportunities for producers to access markets, support alternative food distribution systems and develop standards to choose to purchase products that support fair treatment of farmers and sustainable farming practices.
The new USDA Special Investigator will have a subpoena team of investigators dedicated to preventing and combating anti-competitive practices in the meat and poultry industries and to enforcement of antitrust laws.
They will coordinate and act with the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission and create a bridge between the USDA and the Department of Homeland Security to protect the continued food supply and increase our national security.
The executive order also encourages the Federal Trade Commission to limit the ability of equipment manufacturers to restrict the use of independent repair shops or perform do-it-yourself repairs, often called âRight of reparationâ.
In April, a pledge from the FTC was secured to address the ability of consumers, especially agricultural producers, to repair their own equipment.