Court rules against GIPSA update
December 28, 2018
According to Meatingplace, appellate judges ruled that USDA was not "arbitrary and capricious" in withdrawing the Farmer Fair Practices Rules that would have updated the ground rules for oversight of the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration.
The Organization for Competitive Markets had filed a petition claiming that USDA had violated a congressional mandate from the 2008 farm bill by not enforcing the rules.
The interim final rule was implemented in 2016 but pulled by the Trump administration late last year. The National Cattlemen's Beef Association has said that the rules would cripple the cattle industry, preventing value-added programs from blossoming, but other groups including as R-CALF USA, USCA and OCM supported the rules. These groups believed the rules would have given an individual farmer standing to request an investigation if he or she believed a packer had unfairly caused financial harm. Without the rule updates, GIPSA can't require a business to compensate or reimburse an indivudual who has been taken advantage of. GIPSA would have to prove that the entire industry was harmed by unfair business practices in order for the offending business to be required to compensate those that were harmed by their actions.
According to Meatingplace, "USDA attorneys told the court last fall that the agency planned to put the issue of the PSA rules on its spring 2019 regulatory agenda, with a possible notice of proposed rulemaking coming sometime after that, and then another rulemaking process to follow that notice."