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USDA Under Secretary Talks Proposed GIPSA Rule

img_7414.JPG “For many years, USDA received much criticism from producers because we weren’t doing anyting to help producers in the marketplace. We have a responsibility to protect producers from unfair practices in the marketplace,” says Edward Avalos, USDA under secretary for marketing and regulatory programs.

I had the opportunity to listen to Avalos speak last week at the South Dakota Cattlemen's meeting, and although he tiptoed around the implications the proposed GIPSA rule might have on producers, his comments provide some insights into how USDA is looking at this livestock-marketing rule.

With more than 57,000 comments received on the proposed rule, Avalos promised to read and review as many as possible. Although he was invited to come speak about the proposed rule and its future effects on livestock marketing, he was hesitant to say much about it.

“My attorneys tell me that I can’t engage in any discussions on the proposed rule. So, I don’t know what to tell you. I guess I do have a few things to say. I support rural America. I support value-added agriculture. I support producers in receiving premiums for their products," Avalos said.

He closed by promising to review every comment and make the final rule one that will work for producers.

“I want to see a feasible, workable, commonsense rule. I will work very closely to review every comment. The comments will structure the final rule. You know, some of the best advice I ever received came from my dad, an old Apache. He said, ‘In this world, nothing ever stays the same. Things are always changing. If you are going to succeed, we have to adjust. Don’t give up your heart, your spirit or your way of life.'"

Without a doubt, the proposed GIPSA rule has stirred up the dust in the agriculture industry. You can read many different viewpoints on the rule here. Although the commenting period is over, I think it will be important to continue a discussion on the pros and cons of this proposed rule. What's your take on the GIPSA rule? How do you think it will help/hurt livestock marketing in the future?