The USDA said that if Congress does not provide enough money for enforcing a new, sweeping antitrust rule for meat companies, it will abandon portions of the rule. The rule which had been passed as part of the 2008 farm bill, would have changed how meat companies pay producers and made it easier for producers to sue processors over antitrust violations.
A Congressional committee voted on Monday to strip funding for the measures in a spending bill that Congress is expected to approve by the end of the week, reports ABC News. The antitrust measures had been heavily criticized by the meat-processing industry, with claims that it would set the industry back 50 years.
"For more than a year, Congress has expressed its frustration with the ... USDA's failure to stay within the framework of the Farm Bill. This funding measure is a reflection of Congress' bipartisan position," J. Patrick Boyle, president of the American Meat Institute, said in a statement.
Provisions of the Farm Bill that have been left untouched include a limit on how much money poultry companies can ask farmers to invest in equipment for their farms and require companies to give farmer at least 90 days notice before suspending delivery of chickens.
Source: ABC News