Obama administration reacts to GIPSA rider testimony
The Obama administration finds “unacceptable” the opposition to a Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration rule intended to ensure fair treatment for livestock and poultry producers, a spokeswoman for Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said Tuesday.
Opposition to the proposed rule was voiced at a House Agriculture subcommittee hearing earlier in the day.
After representatives of livestock groups testified at the hearing held by the House Agriculture Livestock and Foreign Agriculture, Rep. David Rouzer, R-N.C., the subcommittee chairman, said, “It remains unclear why Secretary Vilsack recently decided to move forward with costly GIPSA regulations, and what we heard today illustrates the disastrous consequences these intrusions will have on livestock markets.”
But the USDA spokeswoman responded, “Any efforts to once again block GIPSA’s rules to ensure fair treatment of livestock and poultry growers are not acceptable to this administration, and do not look out for the best interests of America’s farmers, ranchers and rural communities.”
“The incessant GIPSA rider demonstrates a complete lack of concern for honest, hardworking families,” she said.
“Maybe some people don’t remember the hardships recently suffered by our farming families in 2008 and 2009 when producers in Arkansas, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Texas lost millions of dollars and their livelihoods when just one of the major poultry businesses went under. The focus should be on how to ensure a fair marketplace and a level playing field for our farming families — nothing less.”
The spokeswoman noted that while livestock industry leaders have been critical of the rulemaking, general farm groups have supported it.
“Just ask the American Farm Bureau Federation, the National Farmers Union and the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition — groups that represent our farmers — and you’ll hear that this GIPSA rider is bad for family farmers, bad for the agriculture industry and bad for our rural communities. Everyone deserves a level playing field. Everyone deserves a fair shot,” the USDA statement said.
The House Appropriations Committee-passed version of the fiscal 2017 Agriculture appropriations bill contains a provision known as the GIPSA rider that would prevent USDA from finalizing the rule, but the Senate Appropriations Committee-passed version does not include it. Each bill has passed its appropriations committee but has not come up for floor consideration.
–The Hagstrom Report