Beef cattle.On Tuesday, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) said it was strongly opposed to USDA’s latest proposed Packers and Stockyards rule Fair and Competitive Livestock and Poultry Markets.

The USDA says it’s proposed rule would tackle longstanding challenges around interpretations of unfairness and competitive injury for the livestock, meat, and poultry sectors. They say the rule is designed to support farmers and growers and reduce food costs for consumers.

USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack made the announcement during an event at the Center for American Progress showcasing the push to create more affordable and competitive agricultural markets. The event highlighted USDA’s wide-ranging progress to enhance the Department’s ability to enforce the Packers and Stockyards Act, including previous rulemaking and an enforcement partnership with the Department of Justice.

“The proposed rule stands for clear and transparent standards so that markets function fairly and competitively for consumers and producers alike,” Vilsack says. “It’s designed to give farmers a fairer shake.”

However, Ethan Lane, Vice President of Government Affairs with NCBA, issued the following statement in response:

“USDA’s newly proposed rule is a direct attack on cattle producer profitability. By creating criteria that effectively deems any innovation or differentiation in the marketplace improper, USDA is sending a clear message that cattle producers should not derive any benefit from the free market but instead be paid one low price regardless of quality, all in the name of so-called fairness.”

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall issued the following statement on Tuesday saying that he and his organization “appreciate” the USDA’s efforts:

“We appreciate USDA’s ongoing work to bring fairness to the marketplace for America’s farmers and ranchers. The proposed rule may impact growers differently depending on their business structure, location and animal species. Our focus is to ensure USDA understands the positive and potential negative aspects of this complex proposed rule. Farm Bureau will review the rule carefully and provide comments consistent with our member-developed policy.”

Click HERE to read the USDA’s newly proposed rule: Fair and Competitive Livestock and Poultry Markets.