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Chairman Roberts: USDA’s GIPSA Rule Limits Livestock and Poultry Producers’ Economic Freedom

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., today released the following statement after the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) released its interim final rule. Two additional proposed rules address unfair preferences and the poultry tournament system.

“Unfortunately, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has chosen to ignore my persistent appeals over the last six years – along with the appeals of livestock producers – by finalizing rules that will limit the economic freedom of America’s farmers and ranchers. I will take a hard look at the rule, but I have strong concerns based on the previous direction taken by USDA. The so-called GIPSA rule has been wrought with controversy since originally proposed in 2010 and will have a devastating impact on America’s farmers and ranchers and how they buy and sell cattle, hogs, and poultry. I’m deeply disappointed Secretary Vilsack and the Obama Administration are taking such action towards rural America as their terms come to an end and during the holidays.”

Chairman Roberts has a proven track record of fighting the GIPSA rule since 2010, along with Congress repeatedly voicing its disapproval over the past six years. In April 2016, Roberts sent a letter to USDA urging the agency to reconsider issuing the rules. Roberts heard concerns about the GIPSA rules from farmers and ranchers at a Senate Agriculture Committee hearing in May. At a related hearing in September, Roberts pressed USDA Secretary Vilsack on this matter.