WASHINGTON – Monday, Nov. 22 is the last day for US cattle producers to speak out against the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration’s (GIPSA) proposed rule on livestock and poultry marketing.

Last week, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association submitted comments on behalf of its membership. NCBA, however, is encouraging all producers and interested parties to submit their own comments specific to their operations. Steve Foglesong, NCBA president and Illinois cattleman, said producers, cattle feeders and others involved in the US beef industry need to oppose the rule.

“This regulation would, among other things, restrict marketing agreements between producers and meat packers, dictate the terms of production contracts, require additional paperwork, create legal uncertainty and limit producers’ ability to negotiate better prices for the animals they sell,” Foglesong said. “This rule would stymie innovation and roll the clock back on this industry. In the end, producers and consumers lose.”

Leading industry groups including NCBA commissioned Informa Economics to conduct a comprehensive economic analysis of the proposed rule. The Informa study concluded that the rule would result in substantial direct and indirect costs to the livestock and poultry industries – eventually borne by producers and consumers – of more than $1.64 billion, including nearly $880 million to the beef industry. The study concluded that 82% of the costs to the beef industry would fall on US cattlemen and women. In addition, the study estimates the US beef-cattle herd would shrink by 494,000 head.

GIPSA relayed earlier that all comments must be mailed by Nov. 22 to:

Tess Butler
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Room 1643-S
Washington, D.C., 20250-3604

All comments sent electronically must be submitted by 12:00 a.m. EST. To e-mail comments using a template letter, beef cattle producers may do so at NCBA’s website. Additionally, comments can be submitted via the Federal eRulemaking Portal. Comments can also be faxed to (202) 690-2173.

“We need to oppose the proposed GIPSA rule on all fronts,” Foglesong said. “In addition to submitting comments to USDA, producers also need to contact their elected policymakers on Capitol Hill. Members of Congress talk a lot about growing the economy, and if they are serious about that, they should oppose this rule because it will have detrimental impacts throughout rural America.”