Organizations seek House Farm Bill changes
On Monday, R-CALF USA and 142 other organizations sent a letter to members of congress urging them to remove the language in the House Farm Bill (Section 11102) that blocks Grain Inspection Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) from protecting producers against retaliation, fraud, and other unfair and anticompetitive practices of concentrated meatpackers.
The letter states that “during the 2008 Farm Bill process, Congress heard extensively from livestock and poultry producers, farmer organizations and consumer groups about anti-competitive and unfair business practices…as a result, the final 2008 Farm Bill included provisions to require USDA to write regulations to address the most egregious of these practices and to define certain terms in the statute.” Section 11102 of the House version of the 2013 Farm Bill threatens the protections placed in the 2008 Farm Bill. This section would also limit USDA’s authority to enforce the Packers and Stockyards Act of 1921.
The letter continues, “The impetus for Section 11102 is that the livestock and poultry companies whose practices were examined by the 2008 Farm Bill provisions and/or USDA’s implementing regulations don’t appreciate that scrutiny. Such practices include forcing poultry growers to make expensive upgrades to their chicken houses, at the same time as the companies controlling their contracts are secretly planning to shut down plants and cancel their contracts, leaving the farmers with massive stranded investments and facing bankruptcy, and leaving the taxpayers to pick up the tab.”
The letter concludes with the 143 groups – which includes 16 cattle organizations – requesting the members of congress to “reject Section 11102 of the House bill during the 2013 Farm Bill Conference and allow farmers and ranchers to prosper in a business environment based on mutual cooperation and fair business standards, not fear, coercion and retaliation.” F