FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 16, 2017
OCM Urges USDA to Finalize GIPSA Farmer Fair Practices Rule
Long-awaited marketplace safeguard would restore rights of U.S. farmers and ranchers
Lincoln, NE – On Thursday, a long-awaited rule is set to go into effect that would restore the rights of farmers and ranchers who are harmed by a meat packing or processing company’s anti-competitive and unfair practices. Known as the GIPSA rule or the Farmer Fair Practices rule, it would clarify and reiterate the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s longstanding position that not all violations of the Packers & Stockyards Act require a showing of harm or likely harm to competition. When this rule goes into effect, an individual farmer or rancher will no longer have to demonstrate that the entire U.S. market is affected by unfair practices inflicted on him or her and will be able to seek a fair remedy.
Mike Weaver, President of the Organization for Competitive Markets (OCM), offered the following statement:
“After seven-year fight to have justice restored, the time has come for this administration to do the right thing by America’s farmers and ranchers by ensuring multinational corporations will no longer be able to abuse America’s producers with their monopolistic, retaliatory, and predatory practices.
With President Trump’s commitment to drain the swamp and Make America Great Again, there is no one single act that will have a greater impact toward the fulfillment of this campaign promise. We look forward to this long-awaited day and urge the U.S. Department of Agriculture to finalize the rule.”
Farmers and ranchers were protected from predatory and retaliatory practices of meat packing and processing companies through the Packers & Stockyards Act until federal court cases stripped them of their protection in 2004 and 2009. Meat packers and processors have used the courts’ false interpretation of the Packers & Stockyards Act to avoid responsibility for damages caused to farmers and ranchers when the individual could not prove harm to the entire sector – a nearly impossible feat. This GIPSA rule would right the wrong of the overreach of these court actions.
OCM has been advocating for proper enforcement of the Packers & Stockyards Act since the USDA initially proposed changes in 2010. Multiple versions of this rule have been written and published, but those have been stalled in both Congress and the administration under pressure from the powerful meat packing and processing companies whose practices the rule is meant to address.
More information on the history of the Packers & Stockyards Act is available at http://competitivemarkets.com/gipsa/.
Media Contact: Angela Huffman, 614-390-7552