The first draft of the regulation, made public in mid-2010, triggered an avalanche of criticism from livestock groups, including NPPC, and their congressional allies. In reaction, USDA last month jettisoned some of the regulation’s key provisions, including a ban on packer-to-packer livestock sales. A week or two later Congress blocked the department from spending money to implement much of the regulation. The restrictions were included in the House-Senate conference report on an annual spending bill for USDA and other agencies, which has now been signed into law.
The scaled-back regulation is expected to include four of the five mandates that Congress put in the 2008 farm bill. Two of those apply only to poultry production; the other two deal with requiring a capital investment under a contract and determining what constitutes fair use of arbitration. Expected to be left out of the new rule is a provision setting criteria for what constitutes an “undue” preference or advantage for producers.