Time to Implement GIPSA
Time to Implement GIPSA. I’m Greg Martin with today’s Line On Agriculture.
GIPSA, which stands for the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration, is part of USDA's Marketing and Regulatory Programs, which are working to ensure a productive and competitive global marketplace for U.S. agricultural products. It’s now been a year since USDA proposed what is known as the GIPSA rule and three years since the 2008 Farm Bill was passed directing the department to develop such a rule. National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson says it’s now time to implement and enforce that livestock and poultry marketing reform. He says farmers and ranchers have waited long enough.
JOHNSON: What we are doing is encouraging action. We understand there were a lot of comments that were made and we certainly support USDA analyzing and considering all of those comments but at some point we have to act. We understand there are resource constraints - all those sorts of things but you know what? The ship is sinking and we need action to begin to plug some of the holes here.
Johnson says packers have been engaging in unfair and deceptive practices that harm small family farmers and ranchers. He says producer-supporters of the GIPSA rule have lost market access and dealt with discrimination in contracts.
JOHNSON: What we have is a very, very concentrated non-competitive marketplace that needs to be fixed and that’s what the rule purports to begin to do.
According to Johnson - the economic impact on rural America stemming from the lack of competition in livestock markets and the resulting loss of farmers and ranchers is clear. He notes there were 1.3-million beef cattle operations 30 years ago - and just 740-thousand today. At one time - Idaho beef producer Mabel Dobbs was forced out of the livestock business. She says they were able to come back on a smaller scale - with the help of an off-ranch income. But today - she says there is still no fair cattle market to participate in. Dobbs believes the GIPSA rule will help level the playing field for thousands of farmers and ranchers.
DOBBS: It would mean that there is a start to correct this market that has been skewed for so long that we’ve lost a half a million ranchers in 30 years. I mean it isn’t the do all, end all that we’d love to see but it’s the beginning.
That’s today’s Line On Agriculture. I’m Greg Martin on the Ag Information Network.