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Biden issues decree, farming online for help | Agriculture News

On July 9, President Joe Biden signed an executive order that could potentially help farmers and ranchers level the playing field with packers and processors.

After the signing of the order from the United States Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack announced how important a day is at a press conference at the Rustic Cuts Butcher Shop in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Iowa Congresswoman Cindy Axne joined Vilsack for the announcement.

Specifically, the US Department of Agriculture has announced plans to invest $ 500 million in US bailout funds to expand meat and poultry processing capacity so that farmers, ranchers and consumers have more choice in the market. The USDA also announced more than $ 150 million for existing small and very small treatment facilities to help them overcome COVID, compete in the market and get the support they need to reach more customers. . The USDA is also holding meat packers accountable by revitalizing the Packers and Stockyard Act, issuing new “Product of USA” labeling rules and developing plans to expand access for consumers. farmers to new markets.

“This is designed to provide an opportunity to maintain the resiliency that we have in facilities like this,” said Vilsack. “We need to increase the capacity and the processing capacity in this country. We can no longer rely on a handful of processing companies to do the work of making the market competitive, of doing good for farmers to ensure, too, that we have a resilient food system. “

Assistance will be available in the form of grants, loans, secured loans, and planning and organizational assistance in determining how to build processing facilities, capacities and assets. Vilsack hopes over the next few months to be able to listen to the people at the company to gather the necessary information on how to structure aid funds.

“We are focusing on beef, pork and poultry,” he said. “Our belief is that there is a great demand for the grant money, the loan money, the collateral loan and all the help we can provide. “

He hopes that this will allow Axne to convince his colleagues to set up a more sustainable structure to finance this kind of activity.

Vilsack hopes these measures will create a more competitive market, allowing for better price discovery.

“We will have a real idea of ​​what the market is,” he said. “It will reduce the distance food has to travel from the farm to my table, reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the food supply, which is amazing.

This should create a much more resilient and locally driven food system that would be able to withstand future disruptions, like the one that occurred with the pandemic.

“This is something I raised at the agriculture committee. This is something that I spoke about in our caucus, especially since it has appeared with the big packaging factories in the disruption of the supply chain, ”said Axne.

Many producers are at a crossroads, a “crossing or breaking point” according to Axne, and when it comes to supporting rural communities across the country, this decree and bill help to meet the needs of livestock producers.

“What this brings is a certain stability for many markets, certainly our animal feed market,” she said. “It gives us a little more stability and knowing what’s going on here in Iowa certainly helps our rural communities.”

The signing of the executive order is expected to promote competition in the U.S. economy, which could lower prices for families, potentially raise workers’ wages, and promote innovation and even faster economic growth.

For many years, corporate level consolidation has increased, and in the majority of US industries, large corporations now control more of the business than they did 20 years ago. Industries include healthcare, financial services, agriculture, and more. This lack of competition drives up consumer prices, and families end up paying more for things like prescription drugs, hearing aids, and Internet services. According to the White House, in total, higher prices and lower wages caused by lack of competition are now costing the median US household $ 5,000 per year.

The order includes 72 initiatives from more than a dozen federal agencies to quickly tackle some of the most pressing competition concerns in our economy. Once implemented, these initiatives will translate into concrete improvements in people’s lives.

The White House believes it will do the following:

• Facilitate job change and help raise wages by prohibiting or limiting unnecessary and burdensome non-competition agreements and professional licensing requirements that hinder economic mobility.

• Reduce prescription drug prices by supporting state and tribal programs that will import safe and cheaper drugs from Canada.

• Save Americans with hearing loss thousands of dollars by allowing over-the-counter hearing aids at drugstores.

• Save Americans money on their internet bills by prohibiting excessive early termination fees, requiring clear disclosure of plan costs to facilitate comparative purchases, and ending owner-exclusive agreements that bind tenants to have only one Internet option.

• Make it easier for people to obtain reimbursements from airlines and compare flight prices by requiring clear and up-front disclosure of additional charges.

• Make it easier and cheaper to repair items you own by preventing manufacturers from prohibiting self-repairs or third-party repairs of their products.

• Make it easier and cheaper to switch banks by requiring banks to allow customers to bring their financial transaction data with them to a competitor.

• Empower family farmers and increase their income by strengthening the tools of the Ministry of Agriculture to put an end to the abusive practices of certain meat processors.

• Increase opportunities for small businesses by directing all federal agencies to promote greater competition through their purchasing and spending decisions.

The ordinance also encourages leading antitrust agencies to focus their enforcement efforts on key market issues and coordinates the continued response of other agencies to business consolidation. In addition, the order includes the following:

• Calls on major antitrust agencies, the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission, to vigorously enforce antitrust laws and recognizes that the law allows them to challenge past bad mergers that previous administrations have not challenged before.

• Announces a policy whose application should focus in particular on labor markets, agricultural markets, health markets (which includes prescription drugs, hospital consolidation and insurance) and the technology sector .

• Establishes a White House Competition Council, headed by the Director of the National Economic Council, to monitor progress in finalizing the order’s initiatives and to coordinate the federal government’s response to the rise of large businesses in the economy.

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