WASHINGTON – Officials with the National Chicken Council were encouraged by Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack’s announcement that USDA will conduct a cost-benefit analysis of the rule on livestock and poultry production and marketing proposed by the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA).

“A serious and robust analysis of the economic impact of the proposed GIPSA rule is long overdue,” said NCC senior vice president and chief economist Bill Roenigk. “The rule will have a profound, far-reaching and costly impact on the poultry and livestock industries, and it should not have been put forth without an appropriate analysis of its impact on farmers and ranchers, industry, and consumers.”

Industry members had criticized the lack of an adequate economic analysis in the proposed rule, published June 22. Vilsack told a meeting of stakeholders in the issue that “a far more rigorous cost benefit analysis will be conducted” before the rule is finalized. A study commissioned by NCC pegged the cost to the broiler industry alone at more than $1 billion over five years, far more than the $100 million level of impact that would qualify the proposed rule as a major enactment requiring a comprehensive economic analysis. Studies commissioned by the livestock industry also predicted billions of dollars in impact.

The comment period on the rule closed November 22. Vilsack said that USDA would form teams to study the thousands of comments filed by members of the public, including farmers, consumers, industry employees, and industry groups. Vilsack declined to speculate how long the review process would take, but said the rule as published June 22 was a draft and could be extensively changed before being finalized.