By Dudley Butler, former GIPSA administrator
I was an active member of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) for many years. I quit NCBA because its leaders began to lie to its grassroots membership and I could not stomach it any longer. Today’s NCBA leaders continue this untruthful behavior. These leaders are like Judas goats leading their members to the slaughterhouse of vertical integration.
The current lies being told by NCBA leaders involve the recent interim final rule and the proposed rules, known as the Farmer Fair Practices Rules, issued by the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA). These lies are recently espoused in Beef Magazine by none other than the newest President of NCBA, Craig Uden.
LIE: If this rule isn’t killed once and for all, cattle producers will lose nearly all incentive to invest in the production of higher-quality beef. That would mean less revenue for producers and lower quality for consumers.
FACT: This is just the latest NCBA propaganda designed to scare hard working cattlemen and cattlewomen. Value-based marketing is here to stay. I have personally been involved with such programs and marketed my cattle through them. I support them wholeheartedly. There must be a showing of “undue preference” before anyone would have grounds for a complaint. Under the law, words like “undue” mean something. Unwarranted, excessive, unjustifiable and unnecessary are just a few synonyms for undue. Anyone with walking around sense knows that better quality brings a better price, whether it be cattle or cotton.
LIE: Under the proposed GIPSA rules, a rancher could sue for damages because he got less money for his cattle even though they were of lesser quality.
FACT: First, under the GIPSA rules, the overwhelming majority of any complaints of cattleman would be handled through the administrative process provided by GIPSA. The farmer or rancher makes a complaint to GIPSA. GIPSA takes it from there. The farmer or rancher is not even a party in any formal administrative action. He is a witness and USDA is the complainant.
Second, litigation in federal court is expensive and any unwarranted claims are dismissed expeditiously by federal judges.
Third, farmers and ranchers are the least litigious people in the world. It is slanderous to suggest that they would file unfounded litigation.
Finally, the proposed GIPSA rules also protect farmers and ranchers against practices such as retaliation, bad faith, denial of due process and fraud. Why would any organization that supposedly represents farmers and ranchers want to kill a marketplace safeguard that protects farmers and ranchers from these types of wrongful practices? If you don’t think these types of practices are prevalent today, call a poultry grower. Many of them raise cattle also.