(AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Case Study

Organization for Competitive Markets et al. v. USDA

Challenging The Trump Administration’s Rollback of Rules Protecting Farmers and Ranchers from Abuses by Big Agriculture

We’re representing the Organization for Competitive Markets and independent farmers from Alabama and Nebraska in a suit against the Trump Administration for illegally rolling back critical protections intended to shield family farmers and ranchers from predatory and retaliatory practices by big agribusiness corporations. Our lawsuit seeks to reinstate rules that prohibit major meat and poultry processors who contract with farmers from engaging in unfair and deceptive practices.

Specifically, our lawsuit challenges USDA’s October rollback of the “Farmer Fair Practices Rule,” which would have allowed farmers to hold agribusinesses accountable for practices like retaliation, bad faith cancellation of contracts, or collusion efforts to force farmers out of the market. Despite the long history of such abuses in the poultry and livestock industry, USDA withdrew the rule, making it effectively impossible for farmers to bring unfair practices claims.

The Farmer Fair Practices Rule was the result of a multi-year process, based on thousands of comments from the public, including independent farmers and ranchers, to help ensure fairness in the production of our country’s food. USDA’s withdrawal of the rule was arbitrary and capricious, and abdicates the responsibilities delegated to the agency by Congress.

Documents