USDA recently released plans for new livestock rules, proposing a host of reforms to help restore competitive markets and contract fairness to livestock and poultry markets.

According to the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC), the new rules, directed by the 2008 Farm Bill, could reform such competitive detrimental practices as preferential pricing, expand producers rights to sue over unfair and deceptive practices and compel greater contract for fairness for poultry producers. But other groups, such as the National Cattlemen's Beef Association and the American Meat Institute see the proposals as potentially damaging to U.S. livestock producers' marketing options. In fact, a poll conducted on beefmagazine.com last week found that 78% of respondents thought the upcoming actions by USDA and the Department of Justice would be negative for U.S. beef producers. Only 13% saw them as positive.

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What do you think of the proposed rules? Do you think these rules will create problems for agriculture, or will they, in fact, boost competition?