The American Angus Association and Certified Angus Beef LLC have joined the discussion on USDA's proposed Grain Inspection Packers & Stockyards Administration Rules. Both groups want to see certain "word changes" in the proposed rules. In a letter sent to Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack, Certified Angus Beef President John Stika wrote that unless heavily edited, they believe the proposed rule will cause cattlemen and brand partners great economic hardships as their investment in premium genetics meet a constricted market.
The USDA agency last summer unveiled its proposed rule changes that govern livestock marketing. A divide soon appeared within the beef industry over lengthening the comment period, and whether the proposed changes themselves needed changes. "Fairness" debates began from coffee shops to editorials and letters to USDA expressing either support or concern over vague language.
By the end of the extended November deadline and after two private economic analyses quantifying costs and concerns, more than 60,000 comments had come in to GIPSA. Vilsack then announced USDA would conduct its own economic impact study.
"The issue seemed to fade a little, but in fact it has not gone away," Stika said. "We owe it to Angus producers and all of our licensed partners across the beef industry to maintain an active role in helping USDA craft the best possible clarifications to the proposed GIPSA rules."
National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson says that NFU recognizes the rule, as written, is not perfect and could use some clarification and editing. According to Johnson, the American Angus Association and CAB both bring tremendous credibility to the process and offer a number of ideas to help clarify the proposed rule to ensure that family farmers and ranchers have an opportunity to compete in a fair and open market.
"We hope that more producer groups will follow the lead of CAB and American Angus Association and actively engage in serious discussions about the rule, rather than unequivocally opposing the rule without suggesting improvements or changes," Johnson said.