WASHINGTON, August 5, 2022 – The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is extending the comment period for its proposed rule titled Transparency in contracts and tournaments with poultry farmers for an additional 15 days through August 23, 2022. Proposed rule posted in the Federal Register on June 8, 2022, with comments originally due by August 8, 2022. USDA accepts comments at www.regulations.gov. We emphasize that you can submit comments anonymously.
The USDA is taking these steps to help ensure the integrity of the federal rulemaking process and to ensure that all parties have the opportunity to comment fully.
“There is fear in the meat and poultry industry, as we saw earlier this year in two separate congressional hearings where witnesses did not testify due to fears of retaliation. “, Vilsack said. “But it’s still essential that we hear the full story, so we’re highlighting the option for comments to be provided anonymously.”
Information regarding the proposed rule and the comment process is also now available in a recorded webinar posted on the AMS website. The webinar provides information on the proposed rule to protect U.S. poultry farmers from abuse and improve competitiveness in U.S. livestock and poultry markets. Information is included in the webinar to inform anyone wishing to comment, but who wishes to do so anonymously.
“We fully respect the ability of all parties to communicate and share views, with each other, with third parties and with the USDA,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said. “However, it is paramount that all parties respect differing viewpoints and guard against coercive actions that undermine the free flow of facts and views in important agency actions.”
“We take the public consultation process seriously and want all members of the public to freely express their views on our regulatory proposals. I am very interested in hearing from those who know of a party prohibiting the free expression of opinions during the public comment process,” said Secretary Vilsack.
Regardless of the feedback process under the proposed rule, we emphasize that complaints of undue or unreasonable harm or disadvantage or retaliation may be reported through the joint USDA-DOJ complaint portal: farmfairness.gov. Reports filed through the portal will be received by the USDA’s Packers and Stockyards Division (PSD) and DOJ, who may report violations to the USDA’s Office of Inspector General, as appropriate. Advice, complaints, or concerns through the Joint USDA-DOJ Complaint Portal may be made anonymously and, where contact information is provided, confidentiality will be protected to the fullest extent possible under the law.
Individuals may also report potential tips, complaints, and concerns to PSD through the PSD Hotline at 1-833-Dial PSD (1-833-342-5773) or directly to the Office of the Inspector General of the USDA or at 202-690-1202.
About the proposed rule:
The Transparency in contracts and tournaments with poultry farmers proposes to require live poultry traders, including integrators, to disclose to poultry farmers key information regarding the financial returns the farmer can expect from their business relationship with the trader and information on the inputs they receive, including a comparison of inputs received by other breeders in the same tournament.
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