In this file:
· Feedstuffs: USDA rule finalizes reorganization of GIPSA, FSA
· DTN: USDA Final Rule Ends GIPSA
· NFU: GIPSA Agency Elimination a Blow to Competitive Markets for Family Farmers, NFU Says
USDA rule finalizes reorganization of GIPSA, FSA
Move took effect with issuance of November 2017 memo and was formalized Thursday with Federal Register notice.
Nov 29, 2018
The U.S. Department of Agriculture finalized a rule Nov. 29 that finalizes proposed changes to the department, including a reorganization of the Farm Production & Conservation (FPAC) mission area as well as elimination of the Grain Inspection, Packers & Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) as a stand-alone agency, moving under the jurisdiction of the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS).
The move took effect with the issuance of a November 2017 memo and was formalized Thursday in the Federal Register.
The Organization for Competitive Markets (OCM) said moving GIPSA to AMS will cause Packers & Stockyards Act enforcers to lose direct access to the USDA secretary and undersecretary, resulting in “having to fight through a layer of unfavorable bureaucracy within AMS for their fair share of budget dollars and the ability to address farmers’ and ranchers’ complaints.”
OCM added, “Placing a regulatory body whose mission is to protect farmers from meat packers’ and processors’ abusive retaliatory and predatory practices into a marketing and promotion agency guarantees a conflict of interest within that agency, preventing them from being the fair market enforcers farmers desperately need in the face of ever-increasing market consolidation.”
The rule establishes new delegations of authority for the chief operating officer of the FPAC Business Center to reflect the consolidation of management support functions for the agencies of the FPAC mission area. The rule also revokes certain delegations of authority to the administrator of the Farm Service Agency (FSA) that have been transferred to the FPAC Business Center as part of this consolidation of functions.
Similarly, the rule establishes new delegations for the chief operating officer of the Rural Development (RD) Business Center to reflect the consolidation of management support functions for the RD agencies and revokes certain delegations of authority to the administrators of the Rural Utilities Service (RUS), Rural Business-Cooperative Service (RBS) and Rural Housing Service (RHS) related to environmental laws that have been transferred to the RD Business Center. In addition, the rule revokes the published delegation of authority to the RHS administrator to collect, service and liquidate RHS loans and redelegates these loan servicing functions for the RHS single family housing loan programs to the RD Business Center. The assistant to the secretary for RD also may transfer loan servicing for other RHS programs (e.g., multifamily housing, community facilities) and for RUS and RBS to the RD Business Center in the future. To provide flexibility as the RD Business Center grows, the RD assistant to the secretary will issue written delegations of authority for other RD loan servicing functions as necessary.
The management support functions...
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USDA Final Rule Ends GIPSA
By Todd Neeley, DTN/The Progressive Farmer
OMAHA (DTN) -- The USDA on Thursday posted a final rule ending the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration transferring the standalone agency's functions to the Agricultural Marketing Service.
The Organization for Competitive Markets was critical of the decision.
OCM founding member and Mississippi cattle producer Fred Stokes said in a statement said the change will harm efforts to police the meatpacking industry.
"Secretary (Sonny) Perdue's action is clear evidence that America's family farmers and ranchers are in harm's way under his leadership at USDA," Stokes said. "We remain hopeful that our litigation against Perdue for illegally withdrawing the farmer fair practices rules promulgated by the now defunct GIPSA will be ruled in our favor. Perdue's actions today make that outcome even more imperative."
Last spring, the OCM filed a legal challenge against USDA for withdrawing a set livestock marketing rules designed to level the playing field for producers while negotiating supply contracts with larger agribusinesses.
The rules originally were drafted by the GIPSA. In November 2017, Perdue announced that as part of a USDA reorganization, the GIPSA would no longer be a standalone agency. The Packers and Stockyards Division was renamed the "Fair Trade Practices" program as part of the Agricultural Marketing Service.
The livestock marketing rules date back to language in the 2008 farm bill. The rules were controversial throughout President Barack Obama's administration. The rules were designed to give farmers more bargaining power to negotiate livestock contracts with meatpackers.
Early USDA proposals drew fire from major industry groups and Congress. The rules were then blocked by Congress. Lawmakers refused to fund any efforts to advance the rules. Congress relented in the fiscal year 2016 funding bill and USDA advanced the rules again.
The rules included an interim final rule on how USDA wanted courts to interpret a provision of the Packers and Stockyards Act. Courts have ruled in cases between poultry growers and poultry companies that a grower has to demonstrate a company's action against the individual grower harmed the entire poultry market.
Since the 1980s, USDA used the standard in beef or pork cases that a livestock producer doesn't have to show harm to competition to bring a Packers and Stockyards case against a company. USDA has pushed to apply the same language to poultry contracts.
Another proposed rule would have given producers more rights when dealing with marketing contracts. The rule would ensure packers can't retaliate against producers who show their contracts to attorneys. The rule also would have prevented packers from giving undue price preferences in marketing contracts…
GIPSA Agency Elimination a Blow to Competitive Markets for Family Farmers, NFU Says
Source: National Farmers Union (NFU)
Nov 30, 2018
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that it will be eliminating the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) as a standalone agency and consolidate its functions into the work of the Agricultural Marketing Service.
National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson issued the following statement in response to the announcement:
“At a time when just a handful of companies control all of the markets that supply and buy from family farmers and ranchers, the elimination GIPSA is a big step in the wrong direction. The agency’s statutory duty is to ensure fair and competitive markets for family farmers. This decision comes on top of USDA’s decision to withdraw the Farmer Fair Practices Rules, which would have given American family farmers the most basic of protections against abusive and undue practices levied against them by companies that hold substantial market power. Farmers Union strongly urges USDA to reconsider both of these decisions that undermine competition and place family farmers and ranchers at a significant disadvantage in the marketplace.”
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National Farmers Union advocates on behalf of nearly 200,000 American farm families and their communities. We envision a world in which farm families and their communities are respected, valued, and enjoy economic prosperity and social justice.
Learn more about us at NFU.org.