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  • Writer's pictureLucas Nava

USDA Secretary: "It is paramount that all parties respect different viewpoints"

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The Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) announced the extension of the comment period for the department’s proposed Transparency in Poultry Grower Contracting and Tournaments rule in an Aug. 5 news release.

The proposal was released in the Federal Register June 8, and comments were initially required to be submitted by Aug. 8, according to the release. With the extension, comments will now be accepted through Aug. 23.

Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, said the move was necessary due to fears within the meat and poultry industry of retaliation against public testimonies, including two Congressional hearings where witnesses refused to testify out of fear.

“We fully respect the ability for all parties to communicate and share their views—with each other, with third parties, and with USDA," Vilsack said in the release. "However, it is paramount that all parties respect different viewpoints and guard against coercive actions that compromise the free flow of facts and viewpoints into important agency actions.”

“We take the public comment process seriously and want all members of the public to freely express their views on our proposed regulations,” Vilsack said. “I am very interested in hearing from those with knowledge of any party prohibiting the free expression of views during the public comment process.”

A recorded webinar with information about the proposed rule and commenting process is available on the AMS website. Comments can also be submitted be submitted anonymously, according to the release.

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