Thousands of public comments were filed concerning the proposed GIPSA (Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration) rule on buying and selling livestock and poultry. Many of the comments were from letters or electronic e-mails.

Some of the more detailed comments came from industry trade associations. The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) in its comments said that USDA lacked authority or “exceeded” it on certain provisions of the proposed rule, failed to support the need for the regulations with evidence of problems in the pork industry and didn’t consider its own studies showing that restricting contracts could harm the industry. NPPC said that the regulations were “bureaucratic overreach.” NPPC CEO Neil Dierks said, “In all my years in the pork industry, I have never seen a regulation proposed that would do as much harm to America’s pork producers as the GIPSA rule would do. There’s no justification for imposing this rule on pork producers. It’s based on anecdotes, not analyses.”

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) said the proposed rule was a “pervasive invasion of government into private business.” NCBA said that the rule was offered by GIPSA with no meaningful economic analyses and without concern for its impact on producers, packers, retailers or consumers. The American Meat Institute (AMI) urged USDA to withdraw the proposed rule because it exceeds the congressional mandate in the 2008 farm bill; will eliminate more than 100,000 jobs; will destroy partnerships between livestock producers and meat companies that have improved product quality; and will raise meat and poultry prices for consumers.

U.S. Cattlemen’s Association (USCA) proposed clarifications in specific sections of the rule (definition of a packer, packer-to-packer sales, etc.) while fully supporting the intent of the rule to “enhance price discovery and restore competition to the marketplace.” USCA said in a press release, “Critics have contended that the proposed rules go beyond the mandate of the 2008 farm bill. However, those same critics fail to recognize the authority and obligation to protect the markets that are already in place under the law. USCA has been consistently adamant that nothing in the downstream activities and the comments filed with USDA reflect that position.”

A new coalition, Our Competition Coalition, has been formed in support of the proposed GIPSA rule. Members of the coalition include R-CALF USA, National Farmers Union, National Family Farm Coalition, Rural Advancement Foundation International-USA (RAFI-USA), Land Stewardship Project, Western Organization of Resource Councils (WORC) and the Organization for Competitive Markets (OCM), The coalition says the proposed rule will help independent producers get fairer prices for their animals from packers, whose industry has consolidated to the point of creating excessive buying power.

EPA Delays E15 Decision on Older Cars — The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it will delay until January its decision on the use of E15 in cars and pickup trucks for model years 2001-2006. The delay is a result of testing failures unrelated to fuel and E15. It is estimated that 60% of the nation’s cars and trucks are newer than 2001.

P. Scott Shearer
Vice President
Bockorny Group
Washington, D.C.