The Department of Agriculture (USDA) will withdraw an interim final rule that would have set proof of harm standards under the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Act (GIPSA).
In an advanced Federal Register notice posted today, USDA said the GIPSA Rule is being withdrawn “because of serious legal and policy concerns related to its promulgation and implementation.” The agency noted that interpretation of the rule is “inconsistent with court decisions in several U.S. Courts of Appeals, and those circuits are unlikely to give GIPSA’s proposed interpretation deference.”
Per Agri-Pulse, the decision is considered a win for livestock groups and companies who opposed the rule since it appeared in the 2008 farm bill. Opponents argued the “proof of harm” language would hurt the producers the rule was trying to protect. Ken Maschhoff, president of the National Pork Producers Council, told Agri-Pulse, “The regulations would have restricted the buying and selling of livestock, led to consolidation of the livestock industry – putting farmers out of business – and increased consumer prices for meat.”
Supporters of the rule disagreed. Senator Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, told Agri-Pulse that he had “violent opposition” to USDA’s decision. Grassley remarked, “If they would know how some of these people are treated that contract with these big multi-corporations, they wouldn’t be withdrawing that. They’re just pandering to big corporations. They aren’t interested in the family farmer.”
A copy of the pending Federal Register notice is available here.