The House Appropriations Committee voted Tuesday evening to approve the legislation that funds USDA, the Food and Drug Administration and related agencies for fiscal year 2012. Included is language that would prevent USDA from implementing the so-called GIPSA rule on livestock and poultry marketing.
National Pork Producers Council Assistant Vice President of Government Relations Chris Wall says his group is pleased the measure denies money for GIPSA to promulgate the proposed regulation:
“Chairman Kingston, Chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee, when we went to him and explains what we were up against, he realized that USDA not only did they not go with the congressional mandate that congress gave them in the 2008 Farm Bill, but that the process was flawed. And because of that, he saw the need to take a ‘time out’ and restart everything back to zero, and make sure that USDA re-proposes the rule, and sticks to the Administrative Procedures Act in the process for issuing rules such as this.”
Wall says the GIPSA rule would affect all farmers and ranchers - bringing an unprecedented government invasion into the private marketplace. But he says the House Appropriations Committee vote will give livestock and poultry producers a much-needed timeout on a rule that would be detrimental to the pork industry:
“Stopping this rule from going forward is crucial. We’re stopping something bad from going here.”
But Wall admits this is just the beginning of this effort. The full House must still vote and discussions with Senate appropriators haven’t started yet:
“We’re on the 50-yard line with a first down, but we’re not in the end zone yet.”
Even if the language does make it all the way through the House and Senate, Wall says USDA will have the opportunity to re-propose this rule. That’s why he encourages producers to remain engaged with their members of Congress continuing to voice their concerns about the rule.