October 17, 2017
Media Contact: Angela Huffman, 614-390-7552
OCM Appalled by GIPSA Rule Withdrawal, Calls for Executive Order
Lincoln, NE – Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) announced it will withdraw the Farmer Fair Practices Interim Final Rule, Scope of Sections 202(a) and (b) of Packers and Stockyards Act, and take no further action on the proposed rule, Unfair Practices and Undue Preferences in Violation of the Packers and Stockyards Act. Thus far, no action has been announced regarding the proposed rule, Poultry Grower Ranking Systems.
The long-awaited Interim Final Rule was set to go into effect on October 19th after several delays, and would have restored the rights of farmers and ranchers who are harmed by a meat packing or processing company’s anti-competitive and unfair practices. It would have clarified and reiterated the USDA’s longstanding position that not all violations of the Packers & Stockyards Act require a showing of harm or likely harm to competition. Under this rule change, an individual farmer or rancher would no longer have had to demonstrate that the entire U.S. market was affected by unfair practices inflicted on him or her and would have been able to seek a fair remedy.
The proposed rule, Unfair Practices and Undue Preferences in Violation of the Packers and Stockyards Act, would have established a list of practices that violate the rule and establish criteria that GIPSA would consider when determining whether a packer, swine contractor, or poultry integrator has engaged in conduct or action that violates the rule.
Mike Weaver, poultry grower and President of the Organization for Competitive Markets (OCM), offered the following statement:
"This withdrawal is a slap in the face to rural America and America’s farmers and ranchers. The administration is allowing multinational corporations led by foreign
interests to hold America’s farmers and ranchers hostage with their monopolistic, retaliatory and predatory practices. The GIPSA rule represented a desperately needed change for farmers and ranchers and I am appalled that the administration would choose to support multinational corporate interests over those of our own farmers and ranchers, especially after campaigning on a promise to drain the swamp and Make America Great Again. Since the USDA cannot get the job done, we call on President Trump to issue an executive order to immediately implement the Farmer Fair Practices Interim Final Rule."
More information on the history of the Packers & Stockyards Act is available at http://competitivemarkets.com/gipsa/.
Organization for Competitive Markets is a national, non-profit public policy research and advocacy organization headquartered in Lincoln, Nebraska. Founded in 1998, we are the only national think tank focusing strictly on antitrust and trade policy in agriculture. Competitive markets in agriculture is our goal, giving rise to our name. We believe we must work together, across all commodities, toward the common purpose of returning our food and agricultural sector to true supply-demand based competition