Senators Express Concerns About Objectivity Regarding GIPSA Proposed Rule Workshops
WASHINGTON - Senate leaders have expressed concern about the objectivity of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) regarding its actions surrounding the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyard Administration (GIPSA) proposed livestock procurement rule and the ongoing U.S. Department of Agriculture/Department of Justice competition workshops.
In a letter sent to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, Senators Pat Roberts (R-KS), Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), Mike Johanns (R-NE), Sam Brownback (R-KS), and Tom Coburn (R-OK) noted that even though the USDA has assured that ongoing workshops would provide an opportunity for diverse viewpoints to be heard, recent press accounts and an e-mail sent by a USDA official suggest otherwise.
To that end, the Senators made the following requests:
- The number of USDA and non-USDA recipients who received the email in question from an official email account;
- The content of subsequent email messages to and from the official email account responding to the original message;
Any memoranda or directives sent to USDA employees asking for assistance in soliciting workshop participants;
- A description of how the Administration would ensure the Aug. 27, 2010, joint DOJ/USDA workshop will be conducted in a fair and unbiased manner; and
- All solicitations or position statements from any USDA agent or employee regarding the competition workshops.
In addition, the Senators requested that USDA clarify whether comments from the workshops will be incorporated in its evaluation of GIPSA’s proposed rule.
“Our nation’s livestock industry is critical to the success of rural America and a positive contributor to our national balance of trade. As the Administration moves forward with regulations affecting all participants in the industry, it is vital they do so in an open, unbiased and deliberative process,” the letter concludes.
View a copy of the letter in its entirety