Ag Blogs -
Friday, 27 May 2011 15:09
I want to commend U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack for his leadership in advancing new pro-competition rules as directed by Congress in the 2008 Farm Bill and under authority of the Packers and Stockyards Act and administered by the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA).
I also take my hat off to him for standing his ground as 147 members of the U.S. House of Representatives asked to halt the year-long process intended to improve competition in the livestock markets.
According to media reports this week, the Secretary will not withdraw the proposed rule regarding the marketing of livestock and poultry. Thank you, Mr. Secretary for continuing to work for fair and competitive markets for our nation’s farmers.
The American beef, pork and poultry producers have worked long and hard at a distinct disadvantage in the marketing arena because of the unfair and antitrust-violating system used by meatpackers and large integrated livestock corporations.
It is disappointing, alarming and confusing to me that so many members of the U.S. House of Representatives have called on Secretary Vilsack to stop the process of updating our livestock marketing in the eleventh month since the proposed rules were published for comment. Why are they attempting to stall access to fair markets for America’s farm families?
Extensive hearings have been held to bring the light of day to this devastating system currently forced upon rural America. With USDA working to correct the destructive shortcomings in the markets, it reflects poorly on the many Members of Congress who are attempting to stop USDA from addressing the injustice perpetrated on American livestock producers.
AAM fully supports Secretary Vilsack in his endeavor to improve competition and bring fair markets to the livestock sector with the new GIPSA rules and we urge him to move forward. We have been working on these critical issues for decades and should not stand for further, unnecessary delays to the Secretary’s marketing improvements.
Larry Matlack is a grain and forage producer from Burrton, Kan., and the National President of the
American Agriculture Movement (AAM).