Washington, D.C. – Congressman David Rouzer (R-NC), Chairman of the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture, joined Congressman Jim Costa (D-CA), Ranking Member of the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture, today in expressing disappointment following the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s advancement of three flawed rules, commonly referred to as the GIPSA rules.
“Many farmers, ranchers and producers across rural America are facing significant financial challenges,” said Rep. David Rouzer, Chairman of the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture. “Despite these hardships, the USDA chose to ignore the will of Congress and the input of our agriculture community. These disastrous rules will result in a flood of litigation, a disruption to the established marketing system for cattle, pork and poultry, and millions of dollars in unanticipated costs.”
“The advancement of these proposed GIPSA rules goes completely against the will of Congress, which has expressly prevented the USDA from finalizing these rules that go well beyond the intent of the 2008 Farm Bill,” said Rep. Jim Costa, Ranking Member of the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture. “These proposed rules and interim final rule will negatively impact how cattle, poultry, and pork are marketed and will thus unduly harm America’s livestock producers. During a time that farmers around the country are suffering from depressed commodity prices we – Congress and the USDA – should be doing everything we can to support those who work every day to put the highest quality and healthiest food and fiber on our dinner tables every night.”
Originally proposed in 2010, Congress blocked these GIPSA regulations for over five years. However, despite formally barring the implementation of these regulations on multiple occasions, the USDA acted unilaterally to circumvent Congress and proceed with the flawed rules.
Of the three rules, the injury to competition measure poses the most harm to the agriculture community. This provision relieves plaintiffs from having to prove competitive injury to claim a violation of the Packers and Stockyards Act, further burdening the United States livestock industry by opening the door to a horde of harassing lawsuits. Despite Congress and the livestock sector sharing opposition to this particular regulation with Secretary Thomas Vilsack, the USDA issued this measure as an interim final rule - essentially making it the law of the land.