House subcommittee blasts GIPSA’s proposed competition rule | TSLN.com

House subcommittee blasts GIPSA’s proposed competition rule

The Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration’s (GIPSA) proposed rule on livestock competition issues and marketing practices drew strong bipartisan criticism Tuesday from members of the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy and Poultry. The rule, announced June 18, is in a public comment period until Aug. 23, but there was a unanimous call from subcommittee members for USDA to extend the public comment period for at least 60 days – and from some, 120 days.

Chairman David Scott (D-GA) told USDA officials they had “very, very seriously overstepped their boundaries.” That was especially true, he said, given that some of the provisions in the proposed rule “were soundly rejected” during the 2008 farm bill debate in both the House and Senate. “For you, and the department to arbitrarily go against the wishes and intent of Congress is serious,” Scott told USDA Undersecretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Edward Avalos and GIPSA Administrator J. Dudley Butler. “The least you can do is to extend the comment period” 60 to 120 days. Avalos said a decision on the extension would be made soon.

Avalos responded to a volley of criticisms of the rule by saying it is a “proposed rule” and USDA wants to hear from the industry. He also said, “We’re not trying to eliminate value-added branded products….the proposed rule does not prevent the use of marketing agreements, it does not prevent the payment of premiums, it doesn’t require minimum purchases on the spot market. What the rule does do, it does create transparency, oppose discrimination or retaliation when there is no reason for disparity in contract terms or contract conditions, prices paid or the treatment of the producer…(it) doesn’t protect poor performers, producers who aren’t satisfying their contract the way they’re supposed to.”

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D-MN) responded, “Well, what I have heard from folks is that you haven’t convinced a lot of people of that fact. I think you have got some work to do.”

The Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration’s (GIPSA) proposed rule on livestock competition issues and marketing practices drew strong bipartisan criticism Tuesday from members of the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy and Poultry. The rule, announced June 18, is in a public comment period until Aug. 23, but there was a unanimous call from subcommittee members for USDA to extend the public comment period for at least 60 days – and from some, 120 days.

Chairman David Scott (D-GA) told USDA officials they had “very, very seriously overstepped their boundaries.” That was especially true, he said, given that some of the provisions in the proposed rule “were soundly rejected” during the 2008 farm bill debate in both the House and Senate. “For you, and the department to arbitrarily go against the wishes and intent of Congress is serious,” Scott told USDA Undersecretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Edward Avalos and GIPSA Administrator J. Dudley Butler. “The least you can do is to extend the comment period” 60 to 120 days. Avalos said a decision on the extension would be made soon.

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Avalos responded to a volley of criticisms of the rule by saying it is a “proposed rule” and USDA wants to hear from the industry. He also said, “We’re not trying to eliminate value-added branded products….the proposed rule does not prevent the use of marketing agreements, it does not prevent the payment of premiums, it doesn’t require minimum purchases on the spot market. What the rule does do, it does create transparency, oppose discrimination or retaliation when there is no reason for disparity in contract terms or contract conditions, prices paid or the treatment of the producer…(it) doesn’t protect poor performers, producers who aren’t satisfying their contract the way they’re supposed to.”

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D-MN) responded, “Well, what I have heard from folks is that you haven’t convinced a lot of people of that fact. I think you have got some work to do.”

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