GIPSA Withdrawal Draws Ire From Senators

Two farm state senators have expressed their “vehement disagreement” with USDA’s withdrawal of proposed GIPSA rule changes.

In a letter to Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), said, “The lack of economic opportunities in rural America creates real challenges for growth and economic development. For the economy in rural America to prosper, people who live, work, and invest there must be able to survive and thrive so they can reinvest earnings into their communities. That is the most effective way to create additional jobs and lasting opportunities for the next generation.”

The senators noted that the livestock industries have consolidated for decades, enabling a handful of companies to exert market power that puts smaller scale, often family-based farming and ranching operations at a significant disadvantage.

 “Recognizing that fact, Congress intentionally instructed the Secretary of Agriculture to promulgate new rules in the 2008 Farm Bill to ensure a better functioning marketplace for farmers and ranchers in the livestock and poultry industry,” the senators wrote. “We look forward to working with you and the Department to ensure everyone in agriculture is getting a fair shake so rural America can thrive again.”

The senators said many of their constituents believe the current practices of multi-national livestock corporations allow them to exploit farmers and ranchers. They also urged Perdue to implement the proposed rule regarding poultry grower ranking systems, claiming those are among the “most unfair schemes we have ever seen forced on farmers.”