Vilsack ignores effort to help cattle industry: NCBA

by Meat&Poultry Staff
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WASHINGTON – US Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack ignored requests for a comprehensive economic analysis of the USDA’s Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration’s (GIPSA) proposed rule on livestock and poultry marketing under the Packers and Stockyards Act, in responding to calls from 115 members of the US House of Representatives and several US Senators, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association charges.

The proposed GIPSA rule was written in response to a directive made by Congress in the 2008 Farm Bill. However, NCBA points out as the 115 House members cited, “GIPSA also included additional proposed regulations that greatly exceed the mandate of the Farm Bill.” The members also stated that “the analysis contained the proposed rule fails to demonstrate the need for the rule, assess the impact of its implementation on the marketplace, or establish how the implementation of the rule would address the demonstrated need.”

The Vilsack response stated, “Beyond the cost-benefit analysis we have conducted for the proposed rule, we look forward to reviewing the public comments to inform the Department if all factors have been properly considered, if or how changes should be incorporated, and to aid more rigorous cost-benefit and related analyses pursuant to the rulemaking process.”

Steve Foglesong, MCBA president, said Secretary Vilsack, the entire Obama Administration and the proponents of the proposed rule continue to ignore the needs of rural America.

“Secretary Vilsack’s response may work for bureaucrats in Washington, DC, but for those of us out in the countryside, he has done nothing more than ignore the pleas of thousands of cattle producers,” Foglesong said. “His refusal leaves my fellow cattle producers and me asking, ‘What are they trying to hide?’ The GIPSA rule will further inject the federal government into the market and could very likely result in financial devastation to a critical part of our country’s economy and in thousands of lost jobs at the time when economic growth and job creation are what we need the most.”

It is irresponsible governing on the Administration’s part to advance this rule without providing all stakeholders, including those supporting this proposal, a clear and comprehensive analysis defining how it would affect the marketplace, Foglesong said.

“There is bipartisan concern for the proposed GIPSA rule, and rather than ignoring reality, it’s time for Secretary Vilsack and the entire Administration to put partisan ideology aside and listen to the calls of cattle producers and lawmakers across the country,” Foglesong concluded.
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