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NCC: Time for White House to stop playing chicken with food system

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National Chicken Council says Biden administration should be looking at the chicken industry as a model of success.

The National Chicken Council this week released the following statement in response to the Biden administration's plans for more government intervention in the meat and poultry industries.

"While we haven't seen any proposals, for the chicken industry, this looks like a solution in search of a problem.

"The vast majority of chicken farmers are thriving helping to produce America's number one protein. In fact, chicken companies have waiting lists of potential family farmers that want to partner with them and enter into the chicken business.

"The chicken industry is the least consolidated in all of animal agriculture, and the market share of the top four companies has been virtually the same for the past 20 years.

"It's time for The White House to stop playing chicken with our food system and stop using the meat industry as a scapegoat for the significant challenges facing our economy. This administration should be looking at the chicken industry as a model of success, instead of creating a boogeyman to justify an unnecessary and expensive foray into our meat supply." (Attributable to NCC President Mike Brown)

The Biden administration on Monday announced a plan to spend $1 billion, including $375 million in grants to small meat processors, $275 million in loan guarantees to extend capital to small processors, $100 million in loan guarantees to finance infrastructure for food distribution including cold storage facilities, $100 million to "support development of a well-trained workforce, safe workplaces, and good-paying, quality jobs by working closely with partner organizations, including labor unions," $50 million in technical assistance and research and development to assist small processors in expanding capacity, and $100 million to pay for overtime and holiday inspection fees for federally-inspected, small and very small processing plants.

The administration, along with Agriculture Secretary Vilsack, announced the forthcoming promulgation of rulemaking under the Packers and Stockyards Act – commonly known as the GIPSA rules. The administration also announced forthcoming changes to "Product of USA" labeling rules as well as the establishment of a portal for reporting concerns about potential violations of competition laws, which will be a joint venture between the Departments of Agriculture and Justice.

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