Billings, Mont. In what can only be described as pure, unadulterated drama, a meatpackers' lobbying group, Informa Economics Inc. (formerly Sparks Companies) and its meatpacker-aligned lobbyist clients the National Meat Association (NMA), the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA), the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) and the National Turkey Federation have scheduled a news conference for Nov. 10, 2010, to unveil a "study' that will attack the proposed competition rule (GIPSA rule) issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA's) Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA).
The multinational meatpackers and their allied lobby groups repeatedly have tapped Informa in an effort to protect their special interests each time Congress or USDA proposes meaningful reforms to benefit consumers and livestock producers.
"If this were a legitimate, unbiased study, these meatpacker lobbyists would widely distribute it as quickly as possible to give the industry and decision-makers time to carefully review the information and provide thoughtful feedback," said R-CALF USA Marketing Committee Chair Dennis Thornsberry. "Instead, these lobbyists are trying to replicate a "shock-and-awe' impact on the public by hinting they have a study, pretending there is something mysterious about the study, and keeping it secret until they can muster sufficient drama at this news conference they scheduled during the annual convention of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB) in Kansas City, Mo.
According to NAFB, the news conference is not part of NAFB's event, as the organizations mentioned above are hosting the news conference themselves.
"NMA, NCBA and their fellow lobby teams are exploiting NAFB's annual meeting just as they've been exploiting U.S. consumers and U.S. livestock producers," said R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard. "These groups repeatedly have refused to publicly debate the merits of the proposed GIPSA rule where their propagandized message could be subject to public discourse. Instead, their entire strategy has been to cast unsubstantiated dispersions against the GIPSA rule and then to run and hide before anyone can question them."
Thornsberry said it is difficult for busy consumers and livestock producers to ignore the well-orchestrated hype these corporate lobbyists are generating against the GIPSA rule.
"These groups have deep pockets and hire special consultants to help them package their self-serving message the best "statistics' money can buy and the lobbyists' group leader NCBA in my opinion, subsidizes its operations with government-mandated Beef Checkoff dollars. So, in essence, these groups use producers' dollars to defeat critical measures that would finally begin to address the ongoing market power abuses by the dominant meatpackers."
Bullard said the public should brace itself for yet another "the sky-is-falling' study and added that Informa Economics is the same meatpacker consulting firm that once tried to scare livestock producers and the public into opposing country-of-origin labeling (COOL) by concocting a study that states, "Costs for the cattle and beef industry are enormous, with per head costs estimated to total in the $50 per head range."