November 23, 2010
The 150 day public comment period on the livestock and poultry competition and contract fairness rule proposed by USDA’s Grain Inspection, Packers & Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) closed on Monday, November 23.
There were over 46,000 public submissions as of November 17 and in all likelihood the final number will exceed 50,000. The sheer magnitude demonstrates the critical importance of the subject matter and also the controversy over the issues involved.
NSAC filed comments commending GIPSA for a comprehensive proposed rule that will go a long way to ensure that our nation’s livestock and poultry farmers have access to more open and fair livestock and poultry markets. The proposed rule also provides protections for farmers who enter into production contracts with large-scale processing companies. NSAC recommended several ways to improve specific provisions in the final rule, and also included specific comments debunking packer animal welfare arguments for opposing the rule.
Dozens of NSAC member groups also submitted comments. NSAC also joined 135 other organizations, including 30 NSAC member groups, on a letter in support of the GIPSA proposed rule which was submitted as an additional public comment. The letter was organized by the Rural Advancement Foundation International – USA (RAFI-USA).
USDA now begins the task of analyzing the comments and preparing a final rule for publication next year.
In the meantime, USDA and the Department of Justice are also preparing to hold the final public listening session of a year-long series looking at competition and anti-trust issues in agriculture. The final session is in Washington, DC on December 8.
Categories: Competition & Anti-trust