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Action on Farmer and Rancher Bill of Rights

by 5m Editor
25 August 2010, at 9:47a.m.

US - As the USDA and Department of Justice (DOJ) workshop on livestock approaches, National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson urges NFU members and all livestock producers to attend. The workshop is scheduled for 27 August in Fort Collins, Colorado.

The workshop’s timing is ideal, as the comment period on the proposed rule published by the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) in the Federal Register of June 22, 2010 (75 Fed. Reg. 35338) has been extended.

“US farmers and ranchers should attend this workshop to have their voices heard directly by USDA and DOJ staff,” said Mr Johnson. “We must be sure that the packer-producer organizations are not the only people at the table when discussing this important issue.”

The proposed rule, essentially a Farmer and Rancher Bill of Rights, addresses concerns that have been discussed for many years and were developed at the direction of the 2008 Farm Bill, which requires USDA to carry out specific rulemaking to improve fairness in the marketing of livestock and poultry.

Recent appeals court decisions have ruled against the intent of the Packers and Stockyards Act of 1921, much to the detriment of livestock producers. GIPSA’s proposed rule changes will bring clarity to the regulations, so that farmers and ranchers are able to take action if they are victims of market abuses by packer-processors. The rules will also allow for more transparency in price and contract negotiations.

“The Farmer and Rancher Bill of Rights will ensure livestock producers the right to access competitive markets,” said Mr Johnson. “These proposed changes are vital to US farmers and ranchers, and I urge USDA to adopt and implement them promptly.”