Scott, 18 senators urge USDA to extend comment period in proposed poultry competition rule

America’s farmers need more time to comment on a proposed federal rule that could impact the nation’s poultry industry, according to U.S. Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) and a bipartisan group of 18 other senators.  

Specifically, the lawmakers urged the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to extend the comment period by 180 days to give farmers more time to file comments in the proposed rule entitled, Inclusive Competition and Market Integrity Under the Packers and Stockyards Act, the purpose of which is to promote inclusive competition and market integrity in the livestock, meats, poultry, and live poultry markets, according to its publication in the Oct. 3 Federal Register.

While the proposed rule introduces novel regulatory concepts that would have wide-ranging impacts on the contracting of poultry, cattle, and hogs, the lawmakers say “it is appropriate that additional time is allotted to stakeholders and our constituents so that they may provide the most substantive comments possible,” according to a Nov. 17 letter they sent to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack.

Among the senators who joined Sen. Scott in signing the letter were U.S. Sens. Roger Wicker (R-MS), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Richard Burr (R-NC), and Chris Coons (D-DE), who noted that extending the comment period would allow stakeholders and constituents to study the impact that the USDA’s full competition agenda would have on industry efficiency and compliance costs, food availability and hunger, and inflationary pressures on consumers. 

“As you know, the chicken industry is essential to our domestic and global food security because of our significant exports,” they wrote. “We, therefore, urge you to let stakeholders comment on all proposed rules together and to take steps to mitigate any interruptions to the poultry supply chain.”