National Farmers Federation, Media Release, 12 July 2021
The National Farmers’ Federation welcomes the courageous moves by the United States Presidential Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy that will prohibit unfair practices perpetrated on chicken growers by American chicken meat processors, practices that are also rife in Australia’s poultry sector.
“The highest political office in the largest economy in the world has decreed that the unfair and unconscionable practices perpetrated by chicken meat processors on American growers must stop and it’s time Australia followed suit,” NFF CEO Tony Mahar said.
The Executive Order prohibits unfair practices relating to the grower ranking systems processors impose on chicken growers; systems that provide processors extraordinary controls over what inputs a grower can use; prices and payments, and that require growers to assume the cost of risks that are outside of their control. Similar practices are widespread in Australia.
“We have countless situations in Australia where growers painstakingly negotiate a farm-gate price over many months, only for any gains to be wiped out by processors unilaterally increasing the cost of mandated inputs they sell to the grower or new requirements to upgrade sheds and capital equipment. This is simply wrong and not in keeping with the principles of competition and fair dealings.”
Despite many reviews into Australian competition policy and agriculture, including the recent Perishable Agricultural Goods Inquiry, there has been little action to rectify the situation for growers.
“This is a watershed moment, and a moment that has alluded us in Australia despite countless government and ACCC reviews that have found untoward practices perpetrated on chicken growers.
“We call on the Australian policymakers to take note of developments in the United States and act swiftly to afford Australian chicken growers the same protections,” Mr Mahar said.
The NFF also welcomes the inclusion of a right to repair for farm machinery within the Executive Order.
“The NFF welcomes the Executive Order’s establishment of a right to repair for farm machinery. The ACCC has looked into this and the Productivity Commission is exploring this right to repair as we speak, and we hope that this right is swiftly mandated for in Australia.”