The following is a press release from R-CALF USA:
Billings, Mont. – The Republican majority in the U.S. House of Representatives this week released its version of the Fiscal Year 2012 Agriculture Appropriations Bill, which slashes funding to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) agency charged with preventing meatpackers from engaging in unfair, deceptive and discriminatory livestock procurement practices that have forced independent farmers and ranchers out of the cattle business.
“Congressional leaders have sent a powerful message to the American people: It’s corporate profits over the well-being of family farmers and ranchers and consumers – period,” said R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard.
Bullard said the meatpackers have enlisted the aid of key congressional members to help them avoid U.S. laws that prohibit meatpackers from engaging in unfair trade practices against U.S. farmers and ranchers who sell their livestock into one of the most concentrated, monopolistic marketing systems in the entire U.S. economy.
“Four powerful meatpackers now control about 85 percent of the U.S. fed cattle market and these four meatpackers have coerced Congress into derailing a USDA rulemaking that would, for the first time, properly implement the 90-year-old Packers and Stockyards Act that was intended to prevent monopolistic meatpackers from taking advantage of independent farmers and ranchers,” he said.
The meatpackers have specifically targeted an important rulemaking by USDA’s Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) that belatedly implements the Packers and Stockyards Act of 1921 (PSA). The GIPSA rulemaking, known as the GIPSA rule, does this by imparting fairness and transparency in the livestock marketplace and by holding meatpackers accountable for their unfair cattle procurement practices that have contributed to the loss of over half a million U.S. cattle farmers and ranchers during just the past three decades.
“The GIPSA rule would prevent meatpackers from giving secret, sweetheart deals to their corporate livestock suppliers while refusing to pay family farmers and ranchers so much as a fair price for their livestock,” Bullard added. “Now Congress has given these same meatpackers a sweetheart deal by including language in the appropriations bill that stops the GIPSA rule dead in its tracks.”
Section 721 of the Republican’s draft Fiscal Year 2012 Agriculture Appropriations Bill states:
None of the funds made available by this or any other Act may be used to write, prepare, develop, or publish a final rule or an interim final rule in furtherance of, or otherwise to implement, the proposed rule entitled ‘‘Implementation of Regulations Required Under Title XI of the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008; Conduct in Violation of the Act’’ (75 Fed. Reg. 35338 (June 22, 2010)).
Bullard said the GIPSA rule is the proposed rule formally titled “Implementation of Regulations Required Under Title XI of the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008; Conduct in Violation of the Act.’’
“The corporate meatpackers have infiltrated Congress and they are doing to the GIPSA rule exactly what they did to prevent USDA from implementing the consumer-friendly country-of-origin labeling (COOL) law for nearly seven years,” Bullard commented.
Bullard said that Congress’ support of the meatpackers’ shenanigans is not what the American people want or deserve.
“If this type of corporate greed is going to be stopped, then the American people must rise up right now to tell their members of Congress they are ashamed of Congress’ effort to put corporate meatpacker profits ahead of the well-being of family farmers and ranchers, consumers, and Rural America,” he concluded.
# # #
R-CALF USA (Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund, United Stockgrowers of America) is a national, nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring the continued profitability and viability of the U.S. cattle industry. R-CALF USA represents thousands of U.S. cattle producers on trade and marketing issues. Members are located across 46 states and are primarily cow/calf operators, cattle backgrounders, and/or feedlot owners. For more information, visit www.r-calfusa.com or, call 406-252-2516.
Source: R-CALF USA
Posted by Haylie Shipp