WASHINGTON – After receiving calls from Congress, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (N.C.B.A.) and other leading agriculture organizations to extend the comment period to the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration’s (G.I.P.S.A.) proposed rule on livestock marketing, the U. S. Department of Agriculture (U.S.D.A.) has responded the comment period will be extended for an additional 90 days. Announced June 18, the proposed rule suggests major changes to the way producers can market their cattle.

“Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle were very clear about the critical need to extend the comment period to allow stakeholders to thoroughly analyze the potential impacts of the rule,” said Colin Woodall, vice president of government affairs. “While it’s unfortunate U.S.D.A. didn’t extend the comment period for a full 120 days as we requested, we’re pleased that stakeholders will have some additional time to further analyze this complex rule and its potential implications on the beef sector, which is the largest segment of the food and fiber industry.

“On the surface, this rule has the potential to take the beef industry back 30 years by stifling the innovative efforts of U.S. cattle producers to add value and enhance the quality and safety of their products for consumers in the U.S. and abroad,” Woodall added.

Steve Foglesong, N.C.B.A. president and an Illinois cattle producer, sent a letter to G.I.P.S.A. Administrator J. Dudley Butler earlier this month to stress the need for additional time to thoroughly analyze the rule’s potential legal and economic impacts on U.S. cattle producers. Foglesong referred to language used by U.S.D.A. Secretary Tom Vilsack regarding the proposed rule In the letter.

“The Secretary of Agriculture referred to this as one of the most sweeping reforms of the Packers and Stockyards Act,” Foglesong said. “As such, it’s extremely important that we thoroughly understand the rule and both its intended, and unintended, consequences on the U.S. cattle community.”

On July 20 during a House Agriculture subcommittee hearing on livestock, Democrats and Republicans expressed to U.S.D.A. that the scope of the proposed rule goes well beyond what Congress intended under the 2008 Farm Bill. N.C.B.A. also reiterated that fact in writing to U.S.D.A.

Visit www.beltwaybeef.com for more information on the proposed rule and its potential impacts on cattle producers.