The fair practice rule has been further delayed due to the Trump administration to the dismay of farmers.
The rule, which the USDA proposed in 2010 and released in Dec. 2016, would have made it easier for farmers to sue companies they contract with over unfair, discriminatory or deceptive practices. 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 rule eases that high burden of proof
Some companies argue that the industry locks them into deals which can force them into debt if they have long-term contracts with farmers at higher set rates.
On the other hand, some farmers are tired of the instable system and difficulty of dealing with the court systems.
Alton Terry is one of the farmers that experienced the process first hand. He said that his contract to sell his chickens with Tyson Farms was cancelled because he tried to organize farmers to protest. He filed a lawsuit against the company and lost in 2010, forcing him to file bankruptcy.
Terry said that he is disappointed in Trump as he believed many farmers were counting on him to approve the new rule.
However, not everyone in the food production industry is disappointed about the delay. Many trade groups in the poultry and pork industries believe the rule could be dangerous for the economy.
National Chicken Council President Mike said that the extension is a clear indication that the administration has recognized the rule is a complicated and controversial issue that would have deep economic consequences for American poultry and livestock producers.
The extension is expected to last at least six months.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.