Many pork and beef producers rallied against USDA's Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration’s proposed federal rule on the buying and selling of livestock at a public meeting held Aug. 27 in Fort Collins, Colo. The meeting on competition in the livestock industry was hosted by USDA and Department of Justice.

Specifically, producers voiced concerns to USDA Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack about the unintended consequences of the proposed rule.

This particular USDA/DOJ meeting, one of several being held this year, focused on cattle although the discussions were not limited to that topic. Robbie LeValley, president of the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association; a cattle producer; and a co-owner of Homestead Meats, a family owned company marketing beef locally, is worried that the proposed rule could have a negative impact on her family business.

“Our innovation and our willingness to do direct marketing has basically now labeled us a packer and under the proposed rule, as I read it, now limits our marketing options – meaning not being able to sell to other packers,” she said. “While some say that is not the intent of the rule, the vagueness of the language makes it very possible.”

The National Cattlemen's Beef Association and the National Pork Producers Council held a media briefing on Aug. 26 regarding the proposed rule. Pork and beef producers representing more than 20 states attended the meeting to voice their opposition to the proposed GIPSA rule, expressing the negative effect it could have on their operations.

"As written, the GIPSA rule would limit my ability to sell hogs," said NPPC President Sam Carney, a producer from Adair, Iowa. "It's a solution in search of a problem. The markets work, and we don't need the government trying to 'fix' it. The GIPSA rule is overly broad and very vague. It would inject uncertainty into the market, stifle innovation and lead to less not more competition in the livestock industry."

Source: NPPC