The Congressional and Senate Chicken Caucuses on Friday sent letters to USDA requesting a 180-day extension to the implementation period for the department’s latest Packers and Stockyards Act rule, entitled, “Transparency in Poultry Grower Contracting and Tournaments.”
The rule, which was published in final version in the Federal Register on November 28, 2023, includes a 75-day compliance period. Thus, the implied compliance date for broiler processing companies and growers is February 12, 2024.
“The rule establishes numerous additional disclosure requirements, changes what provisions must be included in contracts, introduces various open-ended and novel definitions and terms, requires companies establish entire oversight systems from scratch, and injects significant ambiguity regarding compliance,” the House letter said.
“The provisions in the rule requiring certain terms be included in contracts are so novel that it appears the industry could have to amend nearly every contract – tens of thousands in total – in just two months over three major federal holidays. By providing just 75 days to implement the rule, AMS has dramatically underestimated the number of people involved, hourly rates, and time required of compliance officers, regulatory consultants, attorneys, executives, and other services required to implement the rule. AMS also overlooks the massive disruption that will be caused if companies and growers must amend nearly every existing grower contract, especially if the same exercise must be done a second time in the event AMS issues additional Packers and Stockyards rules.
“As such, we respectfully request that AMS extend the implementation date of the rule no less than 180 days after its official publication in the Federal Register. Doing so would allow stakeholders and constituents time to thoroughly understand and comply with the rule’s many requirements,” the letter concluded.
The House letter, led by Congressional Chicken Caucus co-chairs Reps. Steve Womack (R, AR-3) and Jim Costa (D, CA-21), totaled 45 signatures, and can be found here. The Senate letter, led by co-chairs Sens. Chris Coons (D-DE) and Roger Wicker (R-MS), totaled 19 signatures, and can be found here.