Opposition flares over GIPSA rider in Senate legislation

By Agri-Pulse staff

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

WASHINGTON, March 13, 2013- Senate Appropriation Committee Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., received a letter from several agricultural organizations opposing restrictions to regulations under the USDA Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) rule. The groups oppose a policy rider in the Senate version of the Fiscal Year 2013 Continuing Resolution found in Title VII of the legislation under Rescissions and Transfers of Funds.

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“Section 742 of the Senate Continuing Resolution actually rescinds specific poultry farmer protection regulations that had been previously approved for final promulgation by the Fiscal Year 2012Agriculture Appropriations,” states the letter.

The groups reiterated their support of the final GIPSA rule, “and its provisions to provide more clarity about the criteria the agency will use in determining when certain livestock marketing practices will be considered to be violations of the Packers and Stockyards Act.”

The Senate released appropriations legislation on Monday to keep the government running through the remainder of fiscal year 2013.  The House passed its Continuing Resolution last week.

The Senate bill provides overall discretionary spending for the Agriculture Subcommittee for fiscal year 2013 totals $20.532 billion. This amount includes an across the board cut of 2.513 percent. Even with the cut, total spending is $1 billion higher than the FY 2012 spending level.  

“The gross mistreatment of poultry growers has been widely reported and the USDA regulations respond directly to the directives from the 2008 Farm Bill requiring USDA to address the most egregious of these abuses. Those rules, which are now in effect, would be rescinded by the Fiscal Year 2013 Continuing Resolution now pending in the Senate,” states the letter.

According to National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC), the Senate bill includes existing rider language from the FY 2012 appropriations bill that limits USDA's ability to further implement the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Act (GIPSA) contract fairness rule.

“It also contains extremist language that forces USDA to rescind existing pieces of the GIPSA final rule that USDA began to implement late last year,” NSAC states. “The additional rider language is disastrous for producers and sets a terrible precedent for future appropriations bills.”

To view the letter, click here.


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