Senators Urge USDA for GIPSA Comment Period ExtensionFri, 23 Jul 2010 17:43:16 CDT
Senate Ag Committee Chairman Blanche Lincoln, Ranking Member Saxby Chambliss and 15 other Senators sent a letter to Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack Friday asking for a 120-day extension on the comment period for the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration's proposed rules. Lincoln says the proposed rule will have a tremendous impact on rural communities, the ag industry and the economy as a whole - so it's only fair to allow adequate time for all stakeholders to be able to review and comment on the changes that will impact how they do business.
The letter states the Packers and Stockyards Act is one of the most important laws governing competition within the livestock industry. The Senators are concerned USDA is missing a unique opportunity to hear directly from the various stakeholders on the issue. They believe USDA could benefit from information gathered during the listening sessions and think the comment period should extend beyond the December 6th conclusion of USDA/DOJ workshops in order to review all comments gathered in the USDA and Justice Department listening sessions.
The letter also states that GIPSA's proposed rules significantly change the way the Act is interpreted - and the impact of the rule on producers will vary according to various factors. Chambliss says the proposal goes well beyond the requirements of the farm bill, exceeds USDA's legislative authority and will have consequences for the livestock and poultry producers it is designed to protect. He is concerned the proposal will dramatically alter livestock and poultry production - harming the farm and ranch families that the rule is meant to protect. Chambliss says USDA should carefully consider the issues as it moves forward and provide an extension so those affected have an opportunity to offer their perspective on the proposal.
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