NCC this week joined the North American Meat Institute (NAMI), the National Turkey Federation (NTF), and the Southwest Meat Association (SMA) in a letter to USDA requesting a 180-day extension to the comment period for the newly announced proposed rule entitled “Inclusive Competition and Market Integrity Under the Packers and Stockyards Act.”

The comment period currently ends on December 2, 2022.

“The proposal introduces regulatory concepts never advanced by the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS or the agency) pursuant to its authority under the Packers and Stockyards Act (PSA or the Act),” the letter said. “These concepts raise novel legal and practical questions requiring careful consideration. … To enable the organizations to speak to this broad array of topics in a constructive manner requires added time.”

The letter also referenced another Proposed Rule USDA has recently released regarding poultry contracting and noted USDA’s characterization that the rules comprise a “suite of major actions under the Biden administration to create fairer marketplaces for poultry, livestock, and hog producers.”

“As previously requested,” the letter concluded, “the agency should withdraw both the June 8 rule, the ANPR, and the above referenced docket, and publish the entire ‘suite’ of rules together, with a comment period sufficient to allow stakeholders to consider the overlapping impact of the proposals and comment after all proposals have been shared publicly. Moreover, should the agency conclude new rules are warranted, their effective dates should be concurrent and allow sufficient time to enable industry to adapt to the massive changes AMS appears to be considering.”

The full letter can be found here. The proposed rule can be found here.