Nebraska Sen. Mike Johanns (R-NE) sent a letter this week signed by 11 of his colleagues to U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack urging him to follow through on his statements regarding a cost-benefit analysis to be conducted on changes to livestock marketing rules by the Grain Inspection Packers and Stockyards Administration of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

In a meeting last week with meat industry officials, Vilsack pledged his department would conduct “a far more rigorous cost-benefit analysis.”

Johanns’ letter strongly endorsed conducting a new economic analysis.

“To date, USDA has not conducted a reliable cost-benefit analysis on these proposed changes, which many believe will lead to decreased competition and fewer livestock marketing opportunities,” he says. “Producers, meatpackers and consumers in Nebraska and across the country deserve a clear analysis from the Office of the Chief Economist at USDA about changes to a program that will affect how they conduct daily business. I was pleased to hear the secretary discuss this idea; now it’s time to put it into practice.”

An economic analysis commissioned by meat industry groups and conducted by Informa Economics Inc. estimated that the rule would result in more than 22,800 job losses, an annual decrease of $1.56 billion in gross domestic product and an annual loss in tax revenues of $359 million.