The National Turkey Federation today called on USDA to withdraw rules and proposals that would upend the contract relationships among growers and processors throughout the poultry business. Today, NTF submitted public comments to the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA). The comments detail the increased uncertainty and unintended consequences that would outweigh any purported benefits.

NTF cited concerns that include:

  • The overriding concern that the increased legal and regulatory uncertainty created by these rules will make it difficult for the industry to fully reward growers for premium performance. Regardless of the rule’s stated intent to benefit growers, the potential for legal challenges when companies write unique contracts or offer competitive premiums likely will increase to the point that it may be necessary to make contracts and compensation more uniform, to the detriment of current high-performing growers
  • The ambiguities, as well as its contradiction of established case law, will lead to a significant increase in lawsuits, to the detriment of growers and processors. These ambiguous requirements will also make compliance difficult and result in added regulatory costs.
  • The detrimental effect on the grower-processor relationship will ultimately harm the very growers they were designed to protect.
  • The long-term impact of these proposed regulations is unknown and, if the current contract model becomes too risky from a legal or economic standpoint, they could significantly change the structure of the industry over time to one that is far less beneficial for the grower.   It conceivably could force companies to evaluate other production models that do not include contracting with independent family farmers to raise turkeys.

NTF’s complete comments are available.