House Committee Votes to Prevent USDA Regulatory Overreach

April 19, 2016

Attribute to Mike Brown, president, National Chicken Council

Republicans and Democrats in Congress for several years have enacted legislation that corrects regulatory overreach on the part of the Obama administration that has kept the Grain Inspection Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) within the scope of the FY 2008 Farm Bill requirements.

The administration finally got it right two years ago and ultimately finalized rules on the areas included in the 2008 Farm Bill, requiring several technical corrections to ensure that the final rules remained consistent with Congressional intent.

That’s why we were as surprised as anyone to read the media reports that USDA and GIPSA were intent on revisiting this issue.  I want to thank Representative Harris and the committee for taking this important action today.

USDA seems to be seeking a solution in search of a problem. Let’s call this what it is – the administration ignoring the will of Congress and handing a gift to trial lawyers heading out the door.  There are no laws, regulations or “riders” that seek to take away a farmer’s First Amendment rights or any other rights, or to limit in any way the many legal remedies available to protect those rights. Today’s livestock and poultry contracting and marketing practices all remain regulated by GIPSA, which administers and enforces the Packers and Stockyards Act to protect farmers, ranchers and consumers.

The current contracting system has worked well for more than 60 years and has helped promote steady improvements in live chicken performance that have benefited chicken farmers, the companies they produce for, the well-being of the birds, and ultimately consumers.   We all want our farmers to succeed.  The success of the company – and ultimately the entire livestock and poultry industry – depends on it.

For more information about how farmers and chicken companies partner to raise chickens, and to hear from chicken farmers themselves, visit: http://www.chickencheck.in/faq/chicken-contract-growers/.

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