Monday, November 29, 2010

Proposed rule sparks controversy

When the 2008 Farm Bill was signed into law, it included language directing USDA’s Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration to establish new criteria for the U.S. secretary of agriculture to consider in determining whether an undue or unreasonable preference had occurred in violation of the Packers and Stockyards Act. In June, nearly a year after the congressionally mandated deadline for release, new regulation proposals were announced. Known as the GIPSA rule, the proposals have become very controversial throughout the livestock and poultry segments of the agriculture industry. “Concerning to us is that many of the provisions in this rule are based on proposals and amendments that were defeated by Congress during debate on the 2008 Farm Bill,” said Colin Woodall, vice president of government affairs for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. “The components of this proposed rule hurt producers and could drastically change the way cattle are marketed in the United States.” The new GIPSA proposals will take away producers’ ability to market on their own, said Charley Christensen, general manager of Producers Livestock Auction in San Angelo. “If we have to start reporting everything we do to the government, that is going to be the biggest issue that I can see,” Charley told me. “If we have to turn our marketing agreements into the government and it is posted for the public to view, we are giving up our last measure of freedom.” The proposed GIPSA Rule was a main topic of discussion during the 66th annual National Association of Farm Broadcasters convention in Kansas City, Mo., in mid-November. A report by Informa Economics during the opening session of the NAFB convention showed the GIPSA rule could result in nearly 23,000 job losses, an annual drop in gross domestic product of as much as $1.56 billion and a yearly loss in tax revenue of $359 million...more

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