FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
LINCOLN, NE – In submitting public comments on the USDA’s Grain Inspection, Packers & Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) Fair Practices Rule, the Organization for Competitive Markets (OCM) urges every farmer, every rancher and every consumer to take the time to do the same.
OCM President Mike Weaver said, “With the June 12th deadline looming, it is imperative that everyone act now. It appears USDA is disregarding all comments from previous public comment periods and now will hold a popularity contest to see if farmers and ranchers are going to survive in America.”
OCM has been pushing for the implementation of the GIPSA rules for over a decade and they were initiated in the 2008 Farm Bill. However, in April 2017, the rules were delayed until October 19th, and USDA is seeking public comments on the interim final rule on competitive injury through June 12th.
This rule would restore the original intent of the Packers & Stockyards Act of 1921. In OCM’s public comments, Weaver explained, “The language contained in this rule captures the original intent of the P&S Act and USDA’s longstanding interpretation that not all violations of the P&S Act require a showing of harm or likely harm to competition. Rather, individual family farmers can demonstrate under certain circumstances a violation of P&S Act by showing they have sustained the harm from certain actions or practices.”
Weaver continued, “Since the passage of P&S Act, the federal courts have taken the liberty to water down the intent and the Executive Branch’s interpretation of the P&S Act. A decision in a 2008 federal case resulted in denying farmers from having their claims of marketplace abuse from being redressed unless they can prove the abusive actions cause an adverse impact to competition. Interpreting the law in this manner effectively protects the companies and not farmers as the law was intended.”
“The authority and responsibility of a federal agency is to ensure the intent of legislation is carried out. This is the most basic foundation of our system of government,” Weaver said. “It is important to note, the intent of P&S Act was not only protection of the market, but also protection of individual producers who were operating in a heavily concentrated market. The 1919 FTC investigation reported the top four corporations controlled 74.4% of the beef market.” Today, in the beef sector alone, the top four multinational corporations control over 80% of the market.
OCM urges family farmers, ranchers, and consumers who support them to submit public comments before the June 12th deadline. Visit www.competitivemarkets.com/supportgipsa for more information.
Media Contact: Angela Huffman, 614-390-7552