While I’ve received literally hundreds of emails from producers celebrating the death of the GIPSA rule, I’d like to offer some words of caution. I firmly believe GIPSA was the wrong solution to a real problem, and implementation in its original form would have unleashed a whole series of unintended consequences that would have severely harmed the industry. They also would have prevented the industry from taking the steps it needs to take to regain market share.
However, the fact that the rule didn’t move forward doesn’t mean that it won’t or can’t be resurrected. After all, it’s obvious that the Obama administration identifies with the populist themes that have been wrapped around the GIPSA rule.
Much like the failed mandatory country-of-origin-labeling (COOL) rule that wasted so much valuable industry time and political capital, the industry once again burned up a lot of time arguing about the wrong solution to a real problem. Yet, these are issues that are about to be recycled, in part, because the identity and very existence of various activist groups depends on keeping these issues alive.
Many folks had hoped these issues would fade and we could step back from all the fiery rhetoric to address the real and substantive issues the industry faces. While I do think the mainstream industry has committed itself to doing just that, we nonetheless will likely be forced to continue to have to waste precious resources fighting these same issues over and over again.
It’s probably unrealistic, and a little naïve, to ask, “Just how great could it be for our industry if we actually started focusing all our resources on building demand , ensuring a competitive cost structure, and improving the quality of our product and ways to capture that value?”
Sadly, however, an organization once created has to maintain the rationale for its existence. The problem is that some organizations only see their future in blaming packers, feeders, retailers, foreign countries, government agencies, and mainstream cattlemen groups for all the problems.