USDA Addresses Poultry Dealers’ Unfair Practices

The US Department of Agriculture recently requested comments on a proposed rulemaking under the Packers and Stockyards Act, which governs how meat and poultry companies buy and source animals for slaughter. The proposed rule is intended to tackle the long-standing power disparity between vertically integrated poultry companies such as Tyson and Perdue and the poultry growers they contract with. 

Lack of transparency in contract formation and the compensation system has caused financial instability among growers. The rule would require poultry dealers to inform growers about crucial production factors such as expectations for infrastructure improvement, known health issues of birds, and dealer-controlled inputs (e.g., feed, veterinary care). 

AWI submitted comments encouraging the inclusion of detailed disclosures related to bird health and dealer policies related to animal welfare that could affect how growers handle birds under their care.