USDA Announces Extension to GIPSA Comment Period
WASHINGTON – The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has responded to calls from Congress, the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) and other leading agriculture organizations to extend the comment period to the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration's (GIPSA) proposed rule on livestock marketing. The proposed rule, announced June 18, suggests major changes to the way producers can market their cattle. The comment period will be extended until November 22, 2010 (an additional 90 days).
"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 Vice President of Government Affairs Colin Woodall. "While it's unfortunate USDA 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 United States and abroad," Woodall continued.
Steve Foglesong, president of NCBA and an Illinois cattle producer, sent a letter to GIPSA 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. In the letter, Foglesong referred to language used by USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack regarding the proposed rule.
"The Secretary of Agriculture referred to this as one of the most sweeping reforms of the Packers and Stockyards Act," stated Foglesong. "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."
During a House Agriculture subcommittee hearing on livestock on July 20, 2010, Democrats and Republicans expressed to USDA that the scope of the proposed rule goes well beyond what Congress intended under the 2008 Farm Bill. NCBA also reiterated that fact in writing to USDA. For more information on the proposed rule and its potential impacts on cattle producers, visit www.beltwaybeef.com.