On Monday, the National Farmers Union brought together livestock producers from across the nation and members of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees to discuss the Grain Inspection and Stockyards Administration proposed rule. The proposal addresses concerns that have been discussed in the industry for decades. NFU says the rule is within the scope of GIPSA's authority to carry out specific rulemaking to improve fairness in the marketing of livestock and poultry.
NFU President Roger Johnson calls the proposed rule a "Farmer and Rancher Bill of Rights." Johnson says it puts teeth into the Packers and Stockyards Act and ensures U.S. farmers and ranchers can compete in a fair and open market. However, Johnson says some aspects of the proposed rule would benefit from additional clarification, but overall the rule is a much-needed regulatory measure to combat the market concentration that has taken place.
The number of U.S. beef and hog operations has been rapidly declining over the last 30 years. In 1980, there were 660,000 hog farms, while only 67,000 remain today. Thirty years ago there were 1.3 million beef cattle operations, but only 950,000 today. NFU believes the GIPSA rule would prevent packers and processors from abusing their market power and would protect the rights of producers.