NCBA Uses Substantiated Evidence as Basis for Comments to GIPSA
WASHINGTON – The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) today, Thurs., Nov. 18, 2010, submitted comments on behalf of its membership to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) regarding its proposed rule on livestock and poultry marketing. The rule, proposed June 22, 2010, is a pervasive invasion of government into private business, according to Colin Woodall, NCBA vice president of government affairs. He said the comments submitted to USDA represent a thorough review of the potential consequences the proposed rule will have on the U.S. beef cattle industry.
“Our comments are not a product of emotion. This is a time-consuming, comprehensive and extremely thorough document outlining our concerns about the impact this rule would have on the U.S. beef industry,” said Woodall. “There is immense passion on both sides of this rule. However, we set passion aside and used substantiated evidence as the foundation of our opposition of this rule that we believe could lead to detrimental consequences to the U.S. beef cattle industry. From producers to consumers, there are no clear winners if this rule is implemented, unless you happen to be trial lawyer.”
NCBA contends that the proposed rule adopts a view of the Packers and Stockyards Act (PSA) that has been uniformly rejected by the federal appellate courts. Woodall said the rule was offered by GIPSA with no meaningful economic analysis and without concern for its impact on producers, packers, retailers or consumers.
NCBA, along with the National Meat Association, the National Pork Producers Council and the National Turkey Federation, commissioned Informa Economics Inc., to conduct a comprehensive economic analysis of the proposed rule in the absence of any substantial analysis by USDA. The study found that the rule would result in ongoing direct and indirect costs to the livestock and poultry industries – eventually borne by producers and consumers – of more than $1.64 billion, including nearly $880 million to the beef industry.
According to NCBA, provisions in the proposed rule causing the most concern for cattlemen and women include: eliminating the requirement that a plaintiff establish injury to competition in order to prove a claim under Section 202 of the PSA, purport to define “competitive injury” and the likelihood thereof, and declare that specific acts or practices are “unfair, unjustly discriminatory or deceptive under Section 202; suggesting the factors which may establish an undue or unreasonable preference under Section 202(b) of the PSA; prohibiting sales of livestock by a packer to another packer or its affiliates; and requiring the production and publication of all cattle marketing and production contracts.
“Before issuing future rules of any kind, NCBA requests GIPSA engage in substantive and meaningful discussions with producers, packers, retailers and consumers,” said Woodall. “GIPSA needs to provide all participants in the beef industry a thorough and comprehensive practical, legal and economic analysis of the costs and benefits of this rule.”
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