RMFU Supports Vilsack on GIPSA Rule “We are pleased to see USDA Secretary Vilsack standing up to the nation’s meat packing lobby on the GIPSA  (Grain Inspection, Packers & Stockyards Administration) rules,” said RMFU  President Kent Peppler, a Mead, Colo. farmer. In a letter to Congressman Frank R. Lucas, Vilsack recently declined the request for a comprehensive economic analysis of the rules on livestock market competition published in June by the USDA’s Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration.
“The livestock commodity organizations, representing the four or five companies that control 80 percent of meat processing in the United States, are crying disaster,” Peppler said, “but what they mean is that the packers are too big to be held accountable. Meat packing giants have been gouging the livestock grower and the consumer for decades. In the process, by controlling markets, they’ve effectively destroyed independent, family-based chicken and hog farming, and they were well on their way to turning cattle growers into sharecroppers when Secretary Vilsack and the Department of Justice stepped in.”
R-CALF USA , which represents independent ranchers in Colorado, Wyoming, and the Rocky Mountain West, dismissed the call for a new economic analysis as an effort to delay and derail GIPSA regulation of livestock markets. R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard called the claim that the GIPSA rule will harm to the economy “absolutely baseless and irresponsible. ”
“Like any big, unregulated corporate power, the packers consider their own profits a matter of national security,” Peppler said. “We’ve seen what ‘too big to fail’ means, and I think Americans are tired of hearing multinational corporations claim they are entitled to more than their fair share of the consumer’s meat dollar. The new GIPSA rules will put an end to practices that let the packing industry hold the livelihoods of small ranchers hostage. An unregulated livestock market only serves the interests of companies big enough to bully their suppliers and their customers. If we don’t control their greed now, we may not get another chance for a long time.”
The rules process has already been delayed once, when the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association  successfully lobbied for a 90-day extension of the comment period. Consumers, ranchers, and packers have had five months to submit their responses, and the next step is for GIPSA to respond to those comments. “The GIPSA rules are a Bill of Rights for small ranchers,” Peppler said. “We need them now.”
ARVADA, Colo. October 22, 2010 – An economic impact study conducted by John Dunham and Associates, Inc. concludes that the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration’s (GIPSA) proposed rule on livestock marketing could have unintended consequences throughout the state of Colorado. The GIPSA proposed the rule on June 21, 2010, in response to a request made by Congress. However, Colorado Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) president Robbie LeValley said the proposed rule changes are not clearly understood, and the unintended consequences are far-reaching across the beef industry.
“Agriculture is our long-term national security, and is the only steady business across this country,” said Terry Fankhauser, CCA Executive Vice President. “This major proposal warrants additional economic analysis, which our industry and numerous members of Congress requested from and was denied to by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. At the very least, this study points out there will be harmful impacts from this rule and it is USDA’s obligation to the U.S. beef industry to acknowledge this and work with producers, not against them.”
The beef industry is an integral part of Colorado’s economy accounting for over 56% of the gross farm income – Colorado’s largest agriculture industry. The proposed GIPSA rule could cost the state as much as $176.6 million in economic activity.
The study also suggested that 170 livestock producers in the state of Colorado could go out of business should this proposed ruling pass. If this study’s conclusion is correct, this is an unacceptable effect of this rule, especially considering the rigors of our state and industry’s economy. With nearly one-third of Colorado’s counties being classified as economically dependent on the beef industry, we can’t afford to lose any producers.
The rancher isn’t the only one who will be negatively affected by implementation of this rule. The end consumer will be forced to pay an additional $50 million annually for the same amount of meat and poultry they currently purchase based off of the increased regulatory burden and impact from litigation.
The study, commissioned by the American Meat Institute, is available online in an interactive format that aggregates economic impact on national, state and congressional district levels. To view the complete study and impact on a specific state or congressional district, go to www.MeatFuelsAmerica.com/GIPSA . For more information on the proposed rule, visit CCA’s website .
Colorado Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) is the state’s only nonprofit trade organization exclusively representing Colorado’s cattle producers. Founded in 1867, CCA is the nation’s oldest state cattlemen’s association.