Meat, Poultry Industries Await New Antitrust Rules

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Many farmers are expecting a sweeping overhaul from federal regulators revising antitrust rules for the meat and poultry industry.

They could end up being the toughest antitrust rules since the Great Depression.

At issue is how much power farmers have as they produce cattle, hogs and chickens for large companies such as JBS SA, Smithfield Farms and Tyson Foods.

Lawmakers in farm states claim a lack of competition among meat companies drives down prices farmers receive for cattle and poultry. They put in a requirement in the 2008 Farm Bill that the U.S. Department of Agriculture overhaul its antitrust rules by this summer.

Tyson Foods and other big meat companies say they're ready to challenge rules they consider too strict.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.

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