NFU applauds senators 'standing up for U.S. farmers & ranchers' on GIPSA rule
By Agri-Pulse Staff
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Washington, Aug. 13 - National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson praised the 21 senators who wrote USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack Friday to support the proposed Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) rule on livestock and poultry markets.
The proposed rule addresses concerns that have been discussed for many years and were developed at the direction of the 2008 Farm Bill, which requires USDA to carry out specific rulemaking to improve fairness in the marketing of livestock and poultry.
“On behalf of U.S. farmers and ranchers, I thank the 21 senators who have signed onto this letter,” Johnson said. “The establishment of greater stability through transparency in the marketplace is of utmost importance for the future of the livestock industry in this country.”
The letter urges Secretary Vilsack “to issue a final rule as expeditiously as possible once the comment period is closed and the Department (USDA) has reviewed the comments and made any appropriate modifications to the proposed rule.”
“The proposed rule is a significant step in the right direction to provide our producers with the means to sell their products in a fair marketplace,” Johnson said. “The process for passing this rule has already been slowed due to an extension for the comment period being granted. I urge Secretary Vilsack to issue a final rule as soon as practically feasible after the comment period is closed.”
Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) explained that he signed the letter to Vilsack because “Our action in the 2008 Farm Bill along with this proposed rule are designed to make clearer the protections and the prohibited actions under the Packers and Stockyards Act so that producers and growers receive fair, equitable, and nondiscriminatory treatment in marketing and contracting arrangements involving livestock and poultry. It is also critically important that the final rules take into account the practical realities of livestock and poultry markets and contract arrangements, so I encourage all interested parties to take advantage of the extended period for submitting comments to USDA regarding the proposed regulations.”
The proposed GIPSA rule:
Clarifies the protections afforded to individual producers and contract growers of livestock and poultry by the Packers and Stockyard Act's prohibition against “any unfair, unjustly discriminatory, or deceptive practice or device”.
Specifies criteria for determining when a requirement for additional capital investment (not initially required or specified) during a poultry growing arrangement or swine production contract constitutes a violation of the Packers and Stockyards Act.
Establishes criteria for determining whether a packer, swine contractor, or live poultry dealer has provided a reasonable period of time for a grower or swine producer to remedy a breach of contract before terminating the arrangement or contract.
Sets rules of fairness for the notification poultry processors must provide if they choose to suspend delivery of birds to growers under already-existing growing arrangements.
Specifies the criteria under which it may be a prohibited “undue or unreasonable preference or advantage” under the Packers and Stockyards Act for a packer or processor to discriminate or offer different prices and terms among various producers of livestock or poultry.
Clarifies requirements and rules to ensure fairness to poultry growers, swine production contract growers, and livestock producers when contracts include arbitration provisions for resolving disputes.
The proposed rule was published in the Federal Register June 22, 2010, vol. 75, p. 35338. Information about the proposed rule is at: www.gipsa.usda.gov
To read the Aug. 13 letter to Sec. Vilsack from 21 senators supporting the GIPSA proposal, go to: www.agri-pulse.com/uploaded/Senate_GIPSA_Letter.pdf
For more coverage of the letter, go to: www.agri-pulse.com/20100813R_Senate_GIPSA_Letter.asp
To read coverage of a National Chicken Council stealth campaign opposing the proposed new GIPSA rule, go to: www.agri-pulse.com/20100812D_NCC_Anti_GIPSA_Campaign.asp
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