USDA Withdraws Packer Regulation

Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue announced they are withdrawing regulations in the USDA Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA).

The GIPSA Rules were started in the 2008 Farm Bill and sent out for comment at the end of the Obama Administration in 2016.

They were supposed to tighten regulations on agribusinesses, making lawsuits easier against illegal business practices.

Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says it put the producers who raise animals in a better position, "I agree with that purpose of those regulations and the purpose of the law. And now that they're going to be rescinded, after years of getting the U.S. Department of Agriculture to put them in place, is a big disappointment."

However, the rule was opposed by some of the national livestock groups.

The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) especially fought against the GISPA rule, which they say would have taken issues for pork producers that should have been resolved in state contract law and moved it to the federal level.

Neil Dierks, CEO of NPPC says, "And rather than giving incentives for increased competition, it would have actually had the opposite effect and would have had incentives for consolidation to take place in the pork industry, which would have taken away opportunities from producers: independent producers, contract producers."

The pork producers were worried that vertical integration, processors owning the system from sow to pork chop, would have become more common.

Dierks adds withdrawing the rule doesn't end protections for pork producers. There are still laws against practices, like collusion, that farmers can file lawsuits against. NPPC supports those laws.