USDA Proposes Changes in GIPSA Rules

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration, known as GIPSA, Wednesday announced updated regulations that propose protections against retaliatory practices against livestock producers. The Farmer Fair Practices Rules are comprised of an interim final rule and two proposed rules. The interim final rule will establish that it is not necessary to demonstrate an unfair practice by livestock buyers harms the entire market to prove a violation of the Packers and Stockyards Act.

The National Farmers Union called the rules “a step in the right direction,” while the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association said the rules would help restore order in the marketplace. However, the National Pork Producers Council says the rules are “an apparent attack” on rural America. NPPC says the rules could restrict the buying and selling of livestock, lead to consolidation of the livestock industry and increase consumer prices for meat.

While noting his track record of fighting GIPSA rules, Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, a Kansas Republican, said the rule would have a “devastating impact” on how farmers sell livestock. Roberts added he is “deeply disappointed” in the last-minute action by the current administration and USDA.