Following up on a commitment made in early January, USDA and the Department of Justice on Thursday launched an online tool for livestock and poultry producers to anonymously report potential unfair and anticompetitive practices.
The website is www.farmerfairness.gov
The website comes as cattle producers continue to call for investigations and for the Justice Department to provide details on its investigation that began nearly two years ago. The National Cattlemen's Beef Association on Wednesday highlighted that JBS USA Food Co., agreed to settle its part of a class-action lawsuit brought by buyers who alleged price fixing and efforts by packers to constrain the supply of fed cattle.
The Biden administration kicked off 2022 with a new action plan for fairness in livestock and poultry markets with a major White House event. The website was part of those actions.
"This new online tool will help USDA and the Justice Department address anticompetitive actions and create livestock and poultry markets that are fairer to our nation's producers," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "I encourage producers who are aware of potential violations of competition laws to submit information to the portal so we can take appropriate action to create more competitive markets in the agricultural sector."
Complaints or tips will go through a preliminary review by USDA Packers and Stockyards Division staff and Department of Justice staff. If a complaint raises sufficient concern under the Packers and Stockyards Act or antitrust laws, it will be selected for further investigation by the appropriate agency. This action may lead to the opening of a formal investigation.
USDA, in its news release, stressed the confidentiality and privacy aspect of complains that are filed.
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