New US rules to protect animal farmers expected soon

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The Biden administration plans to issue a new rule to protect the rights of farmers who raise cows, chickens and hogs against the country’s largest meat processors as part of a plan to encourage more competition in the agriculture sector.

The new rule will make it easier for farmers to sue companies they contract with over unfair, discriminatory or deceptive practices. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is also expected to tighten the definition of what it means for meat to be labeled a “Product of USA” to exclude when animals are raised in other countries and simply processed in the United States.

A USDA official familiar with the White House’s plan says an executive order is expected to be announced this week that will clear the way for the new rules that will follow later.

Currently, several court rulings have interpreted federal law as saying a farmer must prove a company’s actions harm competition in the entire industry before a lawsuit can move forward. The new rule would ease that high burden of proof.

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