GIPSA rules hit another speed bump

Meatingplace, By Rita Jane Gabbett on 1/24/2017

To give newly inaugerated President Donald Trump’s appointees or designees the opportunity to review any new or pending regulations, the administration has postponed for 60 days implementing regulations already published in the Federal Register that have not yet taken effect, including the controversial so-called “GIPSA rules” the Obama administration posted in mid-December.

USDA announced The Farmer Fair Practices Rules on Dec. 14, 2016, the latest in several attempts over the past seven years to update the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration regulations that affect the practices of poultry and meat processors relative to the farmers that supply them with live animals. Included were one final rule and two proposed rules addressing such issues as how competitive injury is determined and how preferences are determined in the poultry grower ranking system.

The final rule would hold that the Packers and Stockyards Act does not require farmers and ranchers with complaints against packers to show injury to the whole sector in order to show they have been the victims of a fraudulent or deceptive business practice. One proposed rule has to do with how poultry growers are ranked within the tournament system for calculating farmer pay. The other proposed rule would define criteria for preference of one livestock or poultry producer over another.

Under the mid-December Federal Register posting, the final rule would have become law in mid-February at the same time the 60-day comment period would have ended for the proposed rules. Now, however, the administration’s 60-day hold on new regulations would push any further action back to at least March 21.

The delay comes to the dismay of the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, which called the proposed rules “critical for the protection of American farmers and ranchers.”

Meat industry groups, however, including the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, the North American Meat Institute, the National Chicken Council and the National Pork Producers Council, oppose the proposed rule changes.