FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 18, 2016
Contact: Andrew Jerome, 202-314-3106
WASHINGTON (March 18, 2016) – A long-awaited regulation, which would offer contract farmers more protections in the marketplace, has seen a renewed commitment from the nation’s capital. In a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack, eight champions for farmers recently reiterated their support to move forward with implementation of the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) rule – an effort that National Farmers Union was quick to applaud.
“Producers and consumers alike benefit from competitive and transparent markets… Deceptive, fraudulent, retaliatory, and anti-competitive practices have no place in a well-functioning market, and we need to have sound rules of the road to protect consumers, livestock producers and poultry growers in increasingly concentrated market environments,” the lawmakers stated in the letter.
The GIPSA rule was included in the 2008 Farm Bill to mitigate abusive contracting and marketing practices in the highly concentrated livestock and poultry sectors. However, lawmakers repeatedly blocked the USDA from actually implementing the law through an annual appropriations rider until late last year when that rider was omitted from the congressional appropriations omnibus bill.
USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Ed Avalos agreed to take “a very well-balanced approach” to finalizing the GIPSA rule during his testimony today before the House Agriculture Committee. Secretary Vilsack delivered a similar message at the NFU annual convention last week, when he said finishing work on the GIPSA rule would be a priority during the remainder of his tenure.
“We are pleased to see the progress and commitment towards implementation of the GIPSA regulations,” NFU President Roger Johnson said. “Our family farmers and ranchers are competing in an increasingly more concentrated market. These regulations will protect growers during contract disputes and help level the playing field.”
Johnson said that NFU will continue to work closely with USDA throughout the process to finalize the rule.
National Farmers Union has been working since 1902 to protect and enhance the economic well-being and quality of life for family farmers, ranchers and rural communities through advocating grassroots-driven policy positions adopted by its membership.