On behalf of family producer operations in Colorado, Rocky Mountain Farmers Union commends Senator Michael Bennet for his fair and thoughtful statement about the controversy surrounding the USDA’ packers and stockyards (GIPSA) rules. In a letter to the President, the senator gave his support for finalizing the rule published in the Federal Register more than a year ago.
“The multinational livestock corporations have tried every trick in the book to thwart the democratic process and protect their privileged status,” said Kent Peppler, RMFU President and fourth-generation Mead farmer/rancher. “The game was over almost a year ago, and it’s time for them to stop whining and move on. The GIPSA rules give small livestock operations a level playing field when they compete with corporate interests. If the corporations don’t think they can win a fair fight, too bad.”
Sen. Bennet’s letter takes into account the issues raised by livestock commodity organizations. As the senator observes, they have had extensions to the comment period for the rule, which the senator called “a valuable forum.” There may be room for improvement in the rule, but until it is implemented, there’s no way to know. RMFU agrees with Bennet that we want “a fair and transparent market in which all livestock and poultry producers compete on a level playing field” and RMFU membership joins in his call to prioritize implementing the rule.
“Family livestock operations and small, local packing plants have been bankrupted by big business tactics the GIPSA rule will curb,” Peppler said. “Americans are tired of hearing that big corporations are going to fail if we don’t give them special privileges. And we aren’t frightened by the threats that they’ll get even by raising prices. Local producers are the lifeblood of a secure food supply, and the GIPSA regulations will give them a fair chance to return to the success our country was built on.”