Eight Questions You Might Not Know You Have About the Packers and Stockyards Act

What is the Packers and Stockyards Act (PSA)?

The PSA was passed to make meatpacking companies play fair.

  • Giving “undue preferences” to any persons or localities in the conduct of their purchasing or business dealings.
  • Engaging in activity that manipulates prices, creates monopolies, or in other ways illegally restrains fair competition.

Why should I care about it right now?

We are about to have our best chance in decades to get better conditions for farmers.

  • A rule boosting enforcement against an updated set of unfair, deceptive, or discriminatory industry practices.
  • A rule clarifying that farmers who seek to bring a lawsuit under the provisions of the Packers and Stockyards Act need not prove that the corporate conduct prompting their individual grievance resulted in harm to competition in the industry overall.

What is the poultry tournament system, and how should the USDA seek to reform its use?

The tournament system means unstable incomes for farmers due to factors they don’t control.

What unfair, deceptive, and discriminatory practices should the USDA seek to stop?

Farmers are currently unprotected against retaliation for speaking up or forming associations, and against racial discrimination.

Why is the USDA’s clarification concerning industry-wide competitive injury important?

The current standard for a successful lawsuit is impossibly high for individual farmers.

These rules make a lot of sense, why aren’t they already on the books?

Giant meatpacking companies used their deep pockets and powerful lobbies to maintain the unfair status quo.

What could get in the way this time?

The corporate meatpacking lobby will use every tool they have to derail and delay.

What can I do?

Stay in touch: there’s more to come!

RAFI-USA challenges the root causes of unjust food systems, supporting and advocating for economically, racially, and ecologically just farm communities.