By Sara Wyant
© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

WASHINGTON, June 15 – Citing potential harm to thousands of small family farms, Rep. Sam Graves, R-Mo., Chairman of the House Small Business Committee, and Scott Tipton, R-Colo., Energy and Trade Subcommittee Chairman, called on Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to comply with the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) in regard to the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyard Administration’s (GIPSA) proposed reform of the Packers and Stockyards Act.


The GIPSA proposed rule would amend the P&S Act to "clarify conditions for industry compliance with the P&S Act and provide for a fairer marketplace," the lawmakers wrote. However, the provision will “severely undermine the capability of small businesses to differentiate their products from larger competitors.”  


Additionally, the provision may also force changes to a company’s asset structure as well as a broader change in industry structure that could lead to more vertical integration. This will result in less competition for livestock producers, packers and consumers—a result contradictory to the proposed rule, Graves and Tipton wrote.


Both Congressmen asked Vilsack and his team to thoroughly review the Department’s initial RFA to address a number of concerns addressed in the letter.  Once a revised RFA is issued, Graves and Tipton ask that the USDA publish their analysis for comment to ensure small business (small farms) can inform the agency about potential effects on small businesses.
A USDA Spokesperson sais that Secretary Vilsack had not yet seen the letter.

“At a time when our economy is struggling to make a recovery, all facets and outcomes must be examined—especially when it involves our best job creators,” explained Graves.


“The proposed rule would be extremely damaging to small farms, kill jobs and hamper competition across the country. Small farmers, just like other small businesses, are already under the constant threat of higher taxes and more regulations from the Obama administration. The last thing family farms need is another costly requirement they are forced to comply with. We will continue to hold USDA accountable and ensure they follow the RFA as this process moves forward.” 

For the full text of the letter, click here



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