Roberts Works to Defend Livestock Producers

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, today said the government is attacking the multi-billion dollar livestock industry with too many regulations, which will have far reaching implications on the economy worldwide. 

“The livestock sector is a driver of the agricultural economy and is also a major reason agriculture has had substantial successes in the export market,” said Roberts. “If the president plans to double exports, this segment of agriculture stands ready to deliver. Unfortunately, despite this unmatched success, the livestock industry has been under regulatory attack from both the EPA and USDA. This is especially true of USDA as it applies to the proposed Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) rule.”    

Sen. Roberts made the remarks at today’s Agriculture Committee hearing entitled, “The State of Livestock in America.” The focus was on the center of the American dinner plate and the nearly 900,000 meat producers who make up America’s more than $100 billion livestock industry. During the hearing, Sen. Roberts called into question the proposed rule, saying the administration went forward in direct opposition to Congressional actions in regards to GIPSA.  

“As a result, we are looking at a proposed rule that is undoubtedly significant in its economic impact and which threatens to undo years of livestock marketing arrangements that have benefited both livestock producers and consumers,” said Roberts. “At a time when many talk about how agriculture is going to help lead the rebound for our economic recovery, it makes no sense to me why we would try to hamstring this industry, and take away marketing tools that will have far reaching implications in both the domestic and international marketplace.”   

Click here to watch Sen. Roberts’ entire opening remarks.    

During a Senate Agriculture Committee hearing last week, USDA stated in its testimony that every $1 billion in farm exports means roughly 8,400 jobs in the United States. That’s because meat and poultry production leads to the processing, distribution and retail sectors, which is made up of roughly 8,400 firms employing 525,000 people who convert livestock into food and products we use every day.    

USDA is currently forecasting that agriculture exports of livestock, poultry and dairy products will reach a record $26.5 billion during the next fiscal year, which is up $5 billion from the previous year.  USDA also projects that agricultural exports will top $137 billion next year, which is up $28 billion from this past year.

This year’s projected growth in exports is expected to support over 237,000 additional jobs. The witnesses at today’s hearing included, Dr. Joe Glauber, Chief Economist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA); Dr. Greg Parham, Administrator at Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service at USDA; Mr. Alfred Almanza, Administrator at Feed Safety and Inspection Service at USDA; Mr. Dave White, Chief at Natural Resources Conservation Service at USDA; Mr. Rick Sietsema, a farmer at Siestema Farms in Allendale, Mich.; Mr. Dennis Jones, a pork producer at South Dakota Farms Union in Bath, S.D.; Mr. Steven Hunt, CEO at U.S. Premium Beef in Kansas City, Mo.; Mr. Frank Harper, rancher and President-elect of Kansas Livestock Association from Sedgwick, Kan.; Mr. Michael Welch, President and CEO at Harrison Poultry from Bethlehem, Ga.; and Mr. Hans McPherson, a rancher and member of Montana Farm Bureau from Stevensville, Mont.