WASHINGTON (February 6, 2017) – Further delaying a much-anticipated and necessary set of protections for family farmers and ranchers, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today pushed back the effective date and comment periods for the three Farmer Fair Practices Rules.
National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson released the following statement in response to today’s announcement:
“Family farmers and ranchers have been waiting on the protections provided by the Farmer Fair Practices Rules for far too long, enduring heavily concentrated markets and the unfair practices associated with lack of competition. After having been delayed and obstructed for the past seven years, it’s time to end the unnecessary delays to the Farmer Fair Practices Rules and allow these basic protections to be finalized.
“Despite the contention of some who have consistently opposed the increased transparency and basic protections these rules offer, the Farmer Fair Practices Rules are not some ‘midnight rule’ of the Obama Administration. They are the culmination of nearly a decade of work, having been provided for in the 2008 Farm Bill and undergone the full regulatory process. The USDA went to extensive lengths to ensure public comment was considered and Congress’s intent was realized, only to be blocked by riders stuck on appropriations bills in the middle of the night.
“Now that the USDA has been allowed to finalize this basic, yet vitally important, set of protections, NFU is calling on the Trump Administration to stand up for family farmers, ranchers, and rural Americans by finalizing the Farmer Fair Practices Rules. We recognize that the administration wishes to review all rules that are in the process of being implemented, and we urge the administration to expeditiously complete that review process and to implement these rules as quickly as possible.”