Livestock industry stakeholders are giving their final effort to sway USDA as the comment period for the agency’s proposed changes to the Grain Inspection, Packers & Stockyards Act reached its deadline Monday.
Groups such as the National Pork Producers Council, American Meat Institute, National Chicken Council, and National Meat Association, and others, contend that the regulations, proposed by the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration will add costs and liability for buyers and sellers of livestock, reports Meatingplace.com.
In its comments, NPPC, which has called the regulation a ‘bureaucratic overreach,’ said that GIPSA lacked authority to declare that no showing of injury to competition is necessary to establish a violation of the PSA. NPPC also points out that federal courts have uniformly rejected that view and that Congress rejected a similar provision during debate on the 2008 Farm Bill.
AMI and the National Chicken Council scheduled a media luncheon in Washington to outline their views on the rule, while NMA on Friday called for the rule to be withdrawn.
On the other side, groups such as R-Calf USA, the National Farmers Union and Organization for Competitive Markets, among others, said the rules will help independent farmers get fairer prices for their animals from packers. They all joined a group called the Competition Coalition, which held briefing sessions with House and Senate congressional offices late last week.
“[O]ur Competition Coalition brought actual livestock producers to D.C. to provide firsthand accounts of how their profitability has been improperly squeezed by monopolistic packers and how the GIPSA rule would restrict meatpackers from exercising their monopolistic power,” R-CALF CEO Bill Bullard said in a news release.
The proposed regulations were announced in June. The initial comment period was scheduled to end on Aug. 23, but stakeholders persuaded USDA to extend it by three months. Some meat industry observers say that given the volume of comments the agency has received a final rule is not likely to be published until late 2011.