GIPSA Livestock Marketing Proposal Threatens Free-Market Principles
WASHINGTON - On June 22, 2010, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) announced plans for a proposed rule (as required by the 2008 farm bill and through existing authority under the Packers and Stockyards Act) regarding livestock and poultry marketing practices. Following the announcement, NCBA President Steve Foglesong made a statement outlining concerns.
"While we're still looking at the details of the proposal, in general, we have serious concerns with any efforts to increase government intrusion in the marketplace. Cattle producers support free-market principles and we deserve the right to enter into private negotiations between willing buyers and sellers-just like other sectors of American business. NCBA will fight to protect the use of contract and alternative marketing arrangements in the cattle industry to satisfy the demands of our consumers.
"We rely on federal regulators to ensure that the marketplace is free from anti-trust, collusion, price fixing, and other illegal activities that could damage the viability of the market and interfere with market signals. Multiple studies have shown that the current regulations in place have been successful in achieving these goals in the cattle market. NCBA has been a long-time leader in advocating for full enforcement of the Packers & Stockyards Act and tools, such as mandatory price reporting, that improve the efficiency and transparency of the marketplace.
"At the end of the day, we're not just cattle producers, we're beef producers; and the success of our business relies on our ability to meet specific consumer demand at the local retail meat case, while at the same time get rewarded for the value we add to our cattle.
"We encourage USDA to closely involve producer input throughout every step of the rule-making process to make sure the final rule supports commerce that's fair, open and transparent without undue government intrusion that would hinder producers' ability to market cattle when, how and where they want to."
NCBA plans to seek an extension to the 60-day public comment period in order to allow more time for stakeholders to gather information pertaining to the proposal's impacts on cattle markets. For more information, visit: www.gipsa.usda.gov.