April 6, 2011
On Wednesday, April 6, the House Agriculture Committee’s Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy & Poultry held a hearing on the state of the beef industry. The hearing panel was limited to a Vice-President of Cargill and two officers of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), Jim Strickland and Anne Burkholder. Not surprisingly, given NCBA’s opposition, all three witnesses opposed the proposed rule of USDA’s Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) which would increase fairness and a level playing field for farmers and ranchers in their dealings with meat packers and processors.
The testimony of the NCBA officers included identical phrasing erroneously stating that that the proposed rule would interfere with Alternative Marketing Arrangements for marketing beef, for example Certified Angus Beef and Harris Ranch. Nothing could be further from the truth.
As noted in an editorial by John Crabtree of the Center for Rural Affairs nothing in the proposed rule would preclude a packer or processor from paying farmers and ranchers premiums for the quality and special attributes of their cattle and hogs. The proposed rule would prevent undue discrimination in payment differentials.
The proposed rule also includes additional safeguards to ensure that farmers and ranchers can get a fair deal and sound information needed for open and transparent markets for their livestock.
USDA is currently reviewing over 60,000 comments received during the comment period on the proposed rule and is also preparing an economic analysis of the final rule. In addition to submitting our own comments, NSAC joined 135 organizations on a comment letter in support of the proposed rule measures and has continued to work for congressional support of the proposed rule.
Categories: Competition & Anti-trust