US poultry leaders attack new Obama regulations

US poultry leaders have criticised the Obama administration for “strangling” poultry and livestock producers with new and controversial regulations.

The criticism follows a US Department of Agriculture’s Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) announcement which includes an interim final rule on competitive injury and two proposed rules about undue preference and the poultry grower ranking system.  All three rules have a 60-day public comment period.

“The vast majority of chicken farmers in rural America are happy and prosper raising chickens in partnership with companies, and they don’t want the government meddling on their farms and telling them how they should run their businesses,” said National Chicken Council (NCC) president, Mike Brown.

“These rules, however, could lead to rigid, one-size-fits-all requirements on chicken growing contracts that would stifle innovation, lead to higher costs for consumers, and cost jobs by forcing the best farmers out of the chicken business.  The interim final rule on competitive injury would open the floodgates to frivolous lawsuits.

“Some of these provisions would also have a detrimental impact on the welfare of the birds by eliminating competition and the incentive to provide the best care possible on the farm.  The performance-based contract structure of modern poultry production was instinctively designed to put the well-being of the birds as the top priority, as incentives are given to farmers who raise the healthiest birds, take risks and work hard.  It incentivises farmers to do their best, to compete, just like every other business in America or any other free market.”

NCC added that it will be reviewing the proposed rules with a “fine-tooth comb” and providing comments to the agency.

“Beyond that, all options are on the table,” said Mr Brown. “We will be working with the new administration and Congress to create jobs and help rural America prosper, rather than imposing more government regulations that stifle business and growth and threaten American jobs.”

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