The Biden administration on Monday proposed new regulations to tighten competition rules in the poultry and livestock market, aimed at protecting farmers and ranchers who trade with companies that process agricultural products.

Over the past year, longstanding grievances about the dominance of a few giants in the meat and poultry market exploded in the wider political debate as rising meat prices played a disproportionate role in rising inflation. While President Joe Biden and his top economic advisers have accused meat and poultry processors of abusing market dominance, farmers are getting their fair share of soaring supermarket prices. They are complaining that they are not getting what they want.

The proposed regulation would allow meat processors to provide false or misleading information when purchasing livestock, or to omit material information to enter into contracts or negotiate purchases of livestock. Certain deceptive behavior is prohibited, such as The law also prohibits retaliation against farmers who attempt to band together or report abuse, according to a USDA summary.

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“With local markets for livestock and poultry so concentrated, farmers, ranchers, breeders and producers face a variety of challenges that unfairly exclude them from economic opportunities and undermine transparency, competitiveness and open markets. We are becoming increasingly vulnerable to such practices,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said.

According to the USDA, his four companies — Tyson Foods, Cargill, National Beef and JBS SA — all sold his grain-fed cattle to be used in steaks, roasts and other cuts of meat for consumers in 2018. 85% were slaughtered together.

In much of the United States, poultry farmers have even fewer animal buyers because of the cost of transporting birds over long distances. In fact, according to his 2012 survey published by USDA Economists, half of poultry farmers can only choose to work with one or two companies.

The government also plans to allocate $15 million to work with the Attorney General to advance enforcement of competition rules in agriculture.

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