WASHINGTON – Congressional leaders committing to “rein in” regulatory agencies is a relief and offers encouragement to Steve Foglesong, National Cattlemen's Beef Association president. From “unprecedented” regulatory overreach from the Environmental Protection Agency to the Grain Inspection Packers and Stockyards Administration’s proposed rule on livestock marketing, this administration has created substantial challenges for US cattlemen and women, he said.
“This administration needs to stand up and look carefully at the unintended consequences occurring in rural America as a result of the unnecessary and burdensome regulations that lack science and a cost benefit analysis,” Foglesong said. “The administration sits idle while more and more regulations are proposed and implemented. It is refreshing to see the tables turning and real leaders who understand the reality of agriculture standing firm on their commitment to protect America's farmers and ranchers.”
On Dec. 9, Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) discussed the long list of regulations with Ramona Emilia Romero during a Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee hearing to consider her nomination as the general counsel for the US Department of Agriculture.
“We write legislation here and work very hard to produce a farm bill or any other bill and then all of a sudden it goes to some federal agency and it has happened in many administrations,” he said. “And whatever pops out of the woodwork in the Federal Register is doesn’t resemble the intent that we think should be the case. That’s a continued sort of an arm-wrestling contest.
“But on GIPSA, we really have strong feelings about that,” he added. “And I’m glad ranking member Sen. Chambliss [Sen. Saxby Chambliss R-Ga.] brought up the situation with Mr. Butler [GIPSA Administrator J. Dudley Butler]. He ought to recuse himself, and I feel pretty strongly about that. And with your background, I think you can take a hard look at that.”
On Dec. 7, during a live episode of NCBA's Cattlemen to Cattlemen, incoming House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) discussed his commitment to thoroughly review the regulations being put forth by various departments and agencies. He discussed the proposed GIPSA rule. He said the way the rule is put together will likely result in a “tremendously devastating” impact on the livestock sector. He said the proposed rule includes language that was defeated in the three previous farm bills.
“Congress wouldn’t give them authority,” he said. “It’s a set of rules that they tried to go through the courts to force implementation and a half a dozen court cases rules against them. So, if you can’t get the elected officials to do it, and you can’t get the courts to implement it, then you use the rulemaking process and that’s where we are right now.
“We had a hearing back in July in the livestock subcommittee where, in a very bipartisan way, we attempted to get the administration and USDA’s attention: Don’t do this,” he added. “They’ve gone forward anyway and they are continuing that process. The GIPSA rule is contrary to the will of Congress. It is contrary to the opinion of the courts in past cases. And I just don’t think it’s good for us.”