Article: National Farmers Union Speaks Out on GIPSA Rule

NFU Sees GIPSA Rule as a Bill of Rights

By Chris Clayton, DTN Ag Policy Editor

Excerpt: In a news release Tuesday, National Farmers Union stated that the group’s president, Roger Johnson, submitted comments commending U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyard Administration on its proposed rule, calling it a “Farmer and Rancher Bill of Rights.”

“Input from agricultural producers is essential to the rulemaking process,” Johnson stated. “The Packers and Stockyards Act has been around for 90 years. It’s time to start enforcing it. The Farmer and Rancher Bill of Rights will protect farmers and ranchers from anticompetitive behavior by packers and processors. Industry will no longer be allowed free rein to abuse livestock producers who have limited market power.”

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4 Comments on Article: National Farmers Union Speaks Out on GIPSA Rule

    • I thank you for commenting on this. Obviously we disagree on the direction that action on this issue should take. But through my career in agriculture I have always taken pride in the fact that despite my own opinions, I can respect those of others, and engage in honest debate with them.

      For those of you who are not versed on this issue GIPSA is the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration which was established in 1994 to “facilitate the marketing of livestock, poultry, meat, cereals, oilseeds, and related agricultural products, and promotes fair and competitive trading practices for the overall benefit of consumers and American agriculture”.

      So let us take the ‘post card’ from the National Pork Producers Council point by point, and I hope you will respond to my critique.

      Just to be clear, the National Pork Producers Council is not a farmer organization. It is an industry-run group with a powerful Political Action Committee dedicated to promoting the interests of the corporations making money off of large-scale pork production.

      Here is what you recommend that people sign:

      Dear Ms. Butler,

      “As an American consumer, I oppose the proposed GIPSA rule on the buying and selling of livestock because it will have a negative effect on the quality and cost of the meat I purchase. The rule will make it more difficult for U.S. farmers to make the types of decisions necessary to run their businesses effectively, and that will ultimately affect me. It worries me that the federal government would attempt to interfere with food production in such away.

      I rely on farmers to provide food that is safe, healthy and fairly priced, and I oppose any ruling that infringes on their ability to do that. I urge you to withdraw the GIPSA rule and to put forward a rule that is less restrictive and will not result in increased prices and decreased quality for consumers like me.


      First of all the post card’s assertion that this rule will increase the price of pork is a bunch of pig dung (which by the way is a major source of pollution of US waterways, agricultural ground, and has had deleterious effects on multiple rural communities). I am assuming that it refers to the Foglesong study conducted at the behest of the few large meatpackers who control the majority of the market. It’s pretty easy to commission a study aimed at getting the results you want. And the study’s merits are questionable at best.

      Second, I challenge you to explain to me how the GIPSA rule could possibly have a deleterious effect on meat ‘quality’. This wasn’t even a part of that industry sponsored study, and where this assertion comes from I would like to know.

      Third, the suggestion that the government is all of a sudden ‘interfering with food production’ is rediculous, since we have relied on the federal government to protect us from the poisoning of our food and our environment through regulation for many years.

      Finally, could you please explain how the proposed GIPSA rules might inhibit farmers’ “ability to provide food that is safe [and] healthy?

      Let’s air this out, please. Give me some specifics here, because I don’t see any in the ‘post card’ you are promoting, and I would really like to know how you think the assertions it makes can be backed up by facts.

      Thanks again.

      Taylor Reid

  1. The pork industry defends horrendous cruelty to animals — factory farmers keep breeding pigs locked in two-foot-wide crates where the pigs can’t even turn around for nearly their entire lives. Eight states have passed laws against this type of animal abuse, yet groups like the National Pork Producers Council still support it.

    More info at this link:

    • I’m not going to touch the animal rights issue as it relates to farming. I think there are valid points on both sides, and I know this is an issue that many people are very passionate about which I certainly respect.

      But thank you very much for your comment.

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