Action Alert: Voice Support for Independent Family Farmers on GIPSA

It is Critical that We Voice Support for Independent Family Farmers
This Monday (Nov. 22nd) is the Deadline…

Corporate agri-business, meat packers, and their allies are lobbying the halls of Congress trying to stop the proposed GIPSA (Grain Inspection, Packers & Stockyards Administration) rule. For them, the system isn’t broken. They consistently report record quarterly profits, while independent livestock producers find it difficult to make ends meet and while consumers pay more and more at the grocery store.

This has got to stop, and the proposed GIPSA rule is a step in the right direction.

What the Proposed Rule Does:

The proposed rule clarifies what are unfair, discriminatory, or deceptive practices by packers under the Packers and Stockyards Act. It is clear that these proposed rules need to go further, but they are a start in the right direction toward fairness in the livestock industry.

The USDA/GIPSA proposed competition rule makes it easier for farmers and ranchers to utilize the court system, when necessary. If a producer is harmed by a packer’s actions, the producer does not have to show that the packer’s action also harmed the entire industry before seeking protection under the Packers & Stockyards Act.  It also helps put an end to discriminatory practices by packers, including giving their preferred feedlots and factory farms “undue preference,” such as higher premiums for livestock that is of comparable quality to that of independent producers; stops discrimination against producers based upon size alone; restricts livestock buyers from buying for more than one packer; improves market transparency by making sample livestock contracts available to all livestock sellers; and contains contract improvements for contract pork and poultry producers.

If Congress and USDA don’t hear from family farmers, rural citizens, and consumers our voices will be drowned out by the lobbyists marching the halls of Congress.

How To Comment to the USDA:

Email Comments to:

Fax Comments to: (202) 690-2173

Please Let Them Know That:

(1) You are a farmer or concerned consumer and the packers and commodity groups do not represent you or your interests. (2) You support the competition rule proposed by GIPSA to help protect independent livestock producers and their markets from the unfair market practices of a handful of giant meatpackers. (3) The meat packers use their undue market power to further consolidate the marketplace and manipulate contracts and prices. (4) We need independent family farmers and competitive markets to ensure a healthy rural America and a healthy, affordable food supply.

Here’s a copy of what I sent:

Subject: RE: Farm Bill Comments, Federal Register, June 22, 2010, Vol 75, No 119 page 35338, Docket RIN 0580-AB07


I am a consumer and strongly support GIPSA’s  efforts to protect livestock producers from the excessive market power of the large meat packers. The proposed GIPSA rule is a crucial first step in bringing some form of fairness back into the livestock marketplace, and it will positively affect both independent livestock producers and consumers.

The current regulations of the Packers & Stockyards Act (PSA), as interpreted, place small and medium scale livestock producers in the weakest position as they have absolutely no market power. Instead of helping producers to protect themselves from the bullying of much larger packers, the rules place an enormous burden of proof on small- and medium-sized producers.

It’s essential that we support independent family farmers and competitive markets to ensure a healthy rural America and a healthy, affordable food supply.  Loss of competition hurts us all in the long run.

Thank you very much for drafting this proposed rule; it is greatly needed and a good first step to reinstate competition in the livestock marketplace. For too long, consolidation and vertical integration in the livestock industry has created a playing field ripe for abuse in which corporate meat packers and large integrators manipulate markets, stifle competition, and limit options for independent producers. Farm families and rural communities have seen the depression of rural economies, resulting from the abuse of market power by the packers. This has to stop, and once again, these proposed rules are a good first step to ensure it does.


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