WASHINGTON (Dec. 8, 2011) – National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson issued the following statement after U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has published the Final Rule implementing protection provisions for farmers and ranchers under the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA):
“While the Final Rule is a good first step, it is certainly not a last step. We are disappointed that Congress passed a Fiscal Year 2012 appropriations bill that prevents additional portions of the rule from advancing. In particular, it is critical that the competitive injury portion of the rule be implemented. Currently, a producer must prove that a packer’s anti-competitive practices damaged the entire marketplace. Clarification of competitive injury is needed so that the producer would only have to prove that his or her operation was hurt by such actions, a much more reasonable standard. In choosing to prevent the competitive injury portion of the rule from moving forward, Congress has clearly chosen to put the interests of large packers ahead of family farmers and ranchers.
“After more than one year of discussion and more than 60,000 comments received, USDA has issued a Final Rule that provides some protection to family farmers and ranchers across the country. This rule will make the livestock market at least somewhat more transparent and fair. The rule clarifies whether the requirement of additional capital investments for poultry growers and swine producers violates the Packers and Stockyards Act, and ensures poultry dealers have a reasonable period of time to remedy a breach of contract.
“We will continue working with this administration and Congress to ensure that family farmers and ranchers are able to compete in a fair and open marketplace.”