(a) In its administration of the Packers and Stockyards Act, the Department has sought to prevent conflicts of interest and to maintain open and fair competition in the livestock and meat packing industries. The ownership or operation of livestock dealers or buying agencies by packers, under some circumstances, may result in violations of the Packers and Stockyards Act.
(b) Traditionally, livestock dealers and buying agencies purchase livestock for resale or to fill orders for farmers, ranchers, producers, other livestock firms and packers. When a livestock dealer or buying agency is owned or operated by a packer, and when such packer is also buying livestock for its own operational requirements, there is a potential conflict of interest. Furthermore, the purchase and sale of livestock by meat packers may result in control of markets and prices which could adversely affect both livestock producers, competing packers, and consumers.
(c) Arrangements between packers and dealers or buying agencies which do not normally create a conflict of interest or result in a restraint of competition include:
(1) Operations utilizing different species or classes of livestock;
(2) Operations where the business activities are widely separated geographically; and
(3) Operations where tie-in purchases or sales are not involved. Packers contemplating engaging in the business of a livestock dealer or a buying agency are encouraged to consult with the PSD prior to the commencement of such activities.
(d) In the event a packer/dealer or a packer/buying agency arrangement appears to give rise to a violation of the Act, an investigation will be made on a case-by-case basis and, where warranted, appropriate action will be taken.
(Approved by the Office of Management and Budget under control number 0580-0015)
[49 FR 32845, Aug. 17, 1984; 54 FR 26349, June 23, 1989, as amended at 68 FR 75388, Dec. 31, 2003; 84 FR 45648, Aug. 30, 2019]