Billings, Mont. In formal correspondence sent today to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA's) Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA), R-CALF USA requested that GIPSA resist any effort to extend the public comment period established in the agency's proposed rule titled "Implementation of Regulations Required Under Title XI of the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008; Conduct in Violation of the Act," (Proposed Rule) published at 75 Fed. Reg., 35338-354 (June 22, 2010).
Comments are due Aug. 23, 2010, and three groups the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA), the American Meat Institute (AMI) and the National Pork Producers Council already are requesting a 120-day extension beyond that date, and such an extension would effectively delay any opportunity for the publishing of a final rule until sometime in 2011.
These three trade associations primarily represent the interests of the highly concentrated meatpacking industry and they essentially argue that the Proposed Rule addresses novel issues that they have not had adequate time to evaluate. However, these groups have long fought against some or all of the very reforms contained in the Proposed Rule and already have made up their minds regarding the Proposed Rule, and therefore, R-CALF USA argues that no delay is warranted.
"As far back as at least 2001 for example, both NCBA and the NPPC formally voiced their objections to granting USDA new authority to "regulate corporate relationships, commercial practices and contracts for the production of agricultural commodities,' and, at the same time, they also have objected to any new laws that would address competition-related issues," said R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard. "In 2001, NCBA and the NPPC wrote, "Creating new laws in an already complex regulatory environment is unnecessary and could result in serious unintended consequences.'"