Following on the heels of his withdrawal of the Grain Inspection, Packers & Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) Farmer Fair Practices Rules, U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue has now announced the elimination of GIPSA as a standalone agency. In a memo released on November 14, 2017, Perdue stated, “The Packers and Stockyards Program formerly part of GIPSA and the Warehouse Act functions formerly part of the Farm Service Agency (FSA) will be transferred to [Agricultural Marketing Service] and included in the Fair Trade Practices program area.”
Perdue’s plans to eliminate GIPSA were announced in September 2017, and the Organization for Competitive Markets (OCM) immediately urged the secretary to reconsider. OCM raised concerns that AMS would not adequately enforce market safeguards that would protect family farmers against abusive corporate practices by the very industry that seems to be controlling AMS. AMS is the same office that has so grossly mismanaged the commodity checkoff programs.
Today, OCM issued the following statement:
“We are stunned that Secretary Perdue continues to erode farmers’ and ranchers’ anti-monopoly protections, as this action further weakens the marketplace safeguards we need to compete in an ever consolidating industry. America’s farmers and ranchers can’t take much more abuse by large multinational and foreign corporations, nor the facilitation of that abuse by the department that Abraham Lincoln once called ‘the people’s department.’”