Beef Buzz News
TCFA's Ross Wilson Worries About Overreach as USDA Rewrites the GIPSA RuleMon, 02 Aug 2021 14:14:20 CDT
At the recent Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association Convention, Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays caught up with Ross Wilson, President and CEO of the Texas Cattle Feeders Association. TCFA represents feedlots in Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico.
Today's Beef Buzz comes from the second half of our conversation with Wilson, who weighed in on a couple of key topics that are ahead and must be faced by the beef cattle industry- incuding the feedlot sector of the business.
Ross Wilson is concerned about the President Joe Biden Executive Order that largely focused on ag regulatory issues- including the proposed rewrite of the so called GIPSA rule. Wilson says it is vital that the USDA and the Biden Administration "Get It Right" when it comes to any adjustments to the current rules- adding it would be very detrimental to the beef cattle business if any overreach happens. Wilson says that it is important that the rule on competition and the ability of a producer to sue a packer or processor still have a burden of proof of harm to that producer. Wilson says there are those who want to sue without any factual evidence of harm- saying "well I think I got harmed- I can't document it, but I didn't get the same deal that the other guy that." Wilson says there is no guarantee that you can negotiate the same outcome- saying that there are a multiude of factors that could make deals turn out differently-adding some of those factors include "economies of scale, where we are in a particular area of the country relative to all of our inputs etc etc."
The worry comes from this section of the Executive Order that came out in July- "The Secretary of Agriculture shall address the unfair treatment of farmers and improve conditions of competition in the markets for their products, consider initiating a rulemaking or rulemakings under the Packers and Stockyards Act to strengthen the Department of Agriculture’s regulations concerning unfair, unjustly discriminatory, or deceptive practices and undue or unreasonable preferences, advantages, prejudices, or disadvantages, with the purpose of furthering the vigorous implementation of the law established by the Congress in 1921 and fortified by amendments. In such rulemaking or rulemakings, the Secretary of Agriculture shall consider, among other things:
"(A) providing clear rules that identify recurrent practices in the livestock, meat, and poultry industries that are unfair, unjustly discriminatory, or deceptive and therefore violate the Packers and Stockyards Act;
"(B) reinforcing the long-standing Department of Agriculture interpretation that it is unnecessary under the Packers and Stockyards Act to demonstrate industry-wide harm to establish a violation of the Act and that the “unfair, unjustly discriminatory, or deceptive” treatment of one farmer, the giving to one farmer of an “undue or unreasonable preference or advantage,” or the subjection of one farmer to an “undue or unreasonable prejudice or disadvantage in any respect” violates the Act."
He says that in the area of competition- it remains to be seen how the Administration will address livestock issues beyond the GIPSA rule at this time.
Hays and Wilson also talked sustainability and how the climate change conversation can be one that the cattle industry can get in front of- and show that we have a great story to tell in helping society reduce greenhouse emissions while producing a delicious and sustainable product with protein and other nutrients that consumers want.
In our previous Beef Buzz- they talked about the 75% plan that the cattle industry is working on to increase price discovery and the number of cattle being sold on a negotiated basis- click here to jump back to that report to hear the first half of our conversation with Ross Wilson.
Click on the LISTEN BAR below to hear more from Ross Wilson on GIPSA and Sustainability.
The Beef Buzz is a regular feature heard on radio stations around the region on the Radio Oklahoma Network and is a regular audio feature found on this website as well. Click on the LISTEN BAR below for today’s show and check out our archives for older Beef Buzz shows covering the gamut of the beef cattle industry today.
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