Small cattle farmers win big victory against meatpackers

The Obama administration is proposing antitrust rules for meat companies that reflect a willingness to shift the balance of power between farmers and processors and to regulate an industry long-dominated by a handful of corporate giants.

The rules proposed friday will place the sharpest limits on meat companies since the great depression, drastically lowering the bar that farmers and ranchers must meet to sue companies whom they accuse of demanding unfairly low prices.

Farmers must currently prove a company is harming competition in the industry overall. Under the new rules, the farmer will only need to show the company is engaged in deceptive practices. Experts say the change could lead to a wave of lawsuits.