USDA Rejects Request To Withdraw GIPSA Plan

Despite the bi-partisan support of 147 members of the U.S. House of Representatives, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says he will not withdraw a proposed rule on buying and selling livestock and poultry.

The congressional members, in a letter, asked that the proposed rule be withdrawn and that USDA propose a regulation “more consistent with the intent of Congress outlined in the 2008 Farm Bill.”

That legislation authorized USDA to promulgate new regulations under the Packers and Stockyards Act to address five specific areas related to livestock and poultry contracts.

The House members noted the USDA has gone beyond its congressional mandate in the proposal, such as issuing official documents after the original rule was made public, and by promising to revise its original economic analysis without offering pork producers and other stakeholders the opportunity to review such analyses.

The House letter cited these and other concerns in its request for USDA to withdraw the proposal and repropose.

A recent analysis of the proposed regulation conducted by Informa Economics determined that it would cost the U.S. pork industry nearly $400 million annually. This would result in the loss of 2,000 direct pork-related jobs.

The National Pork Producers Council and the 147 bi-partisan members of the House have strongly urged USDA to be open and transparent in its regulatory dealings with the U.S. pork industry.