House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member GT Thompson (PA-15) this week released a wide ranging bill designed to reverse the regulatory burdens imposed on farms and agribusinesses by the Biden administration, including addressing the upcoming Packers and Stockyards Act rulemaking and poultry and pork processing line speeds.

Amongst many other provisions ranging from clarity related to the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) regulations to rescinding the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) current proposed rule on climate-related disclosures for businesses to streamlining of environmental reviews for permitting, the bill includes two sections in particular that would impact the U.S. chicken industry.

Section 7 of the bill would require the Secretary of Agriculture, acting through USDA’s Chief Economist, to conduct a cost-benefit analysis on the implementation of certain proposed rules issued under the Packers and Stockyards Act (PSA) and to publish the analysis on the USDA website and in the Federal Register at least 90 days before publication of a proposed rule. The section specifically calls out the topics contemplated by previous rulemaking conducted by Vilsack, including rules related to transparency in poultry grower contracting and tournaments, unfair practices and undue preferences under the PSA, and the scope of violations under the PSA regarding the need for a showing of harm or likely harm to competition.

Section 10 of the bill would require the Secretary of Agriculture to publish in the Federal Register within 90 days criteria for considering requests from meat and poultry processing establishments to operate at line speeds in excess of the current regulatory limitations. The section would also require the Secretary to begin accepting and reviewing such requests and requires the Secretary to respond within 90 days of receiving a request with either an approval or denial. Any denial must be accompanied by a detailed explanation of the rationale for such a denial. Approved requests shall remain in effect for as long as the establishments continue to meet established criteria.

“This bill will reverse many of the more harmful regulatory burdens spearheaded by this administration, address escalating input costs, and provide certainty to farmers, ranchers, agribusinesses, and other entities across our food and ag supply chains,” Rep. Thompson said.

The bill follows a letter sent to President Biden by Rep. Thompson, Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA), Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik (R-NY), and 92 other Republicans, which said that President “has neglected to take serious action to increase American production” and by doing so has limited “American farmers’ ability to meet global food demand.

A summary of the bill can be found here and full text can be found here.

 

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