WASHINGTON, May 25, 2016 - The nation’s biggest livestock groups are concerned about what a potential rule from the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration might do to the marketplace and used a House Subcommittee hearing to say as much.

Tuesday’s hearing was the last in a series intended to study the current state of the farm economy, but much of the discussion revolved around the groups’ respective policy priorities, particularly concerns about a GIPSA rule intended to address anti-competitive practices. However, the groups say the rule under consideration would amount to USDA interference in markets.

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President Tracy Brunner said it would make USDA “the ultimate arbiter of how cattle are marketed.” John Zimmerman, a board member with the National Turkey Federation, said the rule could lead to increased costs, lower productivity, and is “threatening to fundamentally change the rules by which our members operate.” David Herring with the National Pork Producers Council also said the NPPC was being forced to divert “valuable resources” from its main priority – getting approval for TPP – to the GIPSA issue.

David Rouzer, the North Carolina Republican who chairs the Livestock and Foreign Agriculture Subcommittee that convened the hearing, pointed out that appropriations riders in the past had blocked the rule, but not last year, “with the understanding and commitment that the USDA had no intention of revisiting these bad ideas.”


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