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The National Pork Producers Council and National Cattlemen's Beef Association have taken first steps toward challenging USDA's new proposed federal rule on [levitra super active 20mg pills $195.00] livestock marketing recently when they requested an extension of the 60-day comment period on the proposed federal rule that could change livestock marketing rules. The comment period currently expires Aug. 23.
USDA was told by Congress in the 2008 farm bill to specify the criteria it will use under the Packers and Stockyards Act to define "undue or unreasonable preference or advantage in a contract. " USDA responded last month with a highly detailed proposal that has become increasingly controversial.
Livestock groups are telling the press that since they have had an opportunity to review the proposed rule, they believe that it goes well beyond the parameters set out in the law, specifically with regard to sections on "unfairness, " purchasing practices, contracts, "competitive injury" and recordkeeping. For example, NPPC President Sam Carney told the press that the USDA proposal, "is overly broad and very vague. We need more than 60 days to determine all of the ramifications this regulation could have on America's 67, 000 pork producers, " he said
NPPC also has concluded that the broad scope of USDA's proposal and what it called "the lack of an adequate economic analysis of its impact on the livestock industry" warrant an extension of the comment period. The organization also pointed out that the Aug. 23 comment deadline is four days before the next USDA-Department of Justice workshop on competition in the livestock industry, and that public comments from that event in Ft. Collins, Colo. , as well as from the final Dec. 8 workshop in Washington, D. C. , should be considered before making the proposed rule final.
One very important new requirement in the proposed rule is its ban on direct packer-to-packer sales and its restrictions on other buying practices. Another is the proposed change that would allow many small meat plants to sell products nationally, even abroad, after being approved by state inspectors who enforce USDA standards.
Meat industry experts suggest the USDA proposal would exceed its legal authority. In addition, they suggest the rule would prohibit or restrict many practices allowed for decades, and could severely harm producers and the industry.
For example, packers who own feedlots would have far fewer sales options, since they could sell their cattle only to their company's packing division -- and pork companies that raise hogs would face similar restrictions.
Perhaps the most controversial, longer-term effect of the USDA proposal, industry observers suggest, is the change in requirements for producers who allege anti-competitive actions. In such cases, a showing of "competitive harm" has traditionally been required to support allegations -- but, USDA now proposes to eliminate that threshold, a very important change.
The process from here is that interested parties -- and, there certainly will be many, by all indications -- will make formal comments to USDA, and include legal and economic analyses of the likely effects of the new rules. Given the level of interest and controversy, USDA appears certain to allow an extension of the time period for public comment, and, once it has had time to review the comments, it will propose a final rule -- and, then interested parties will decide whether to mount legal challenges, which seem likely at this time.
At this early point in the process, it appears the USDA proposal could change the structure of the U. S. livestock marketing channels in very significant ways, both by restricting options now used by packers and others and by making it easier to bring charges of anti-competitive behavior.
Industry observers suggest that at least some of these proposed changes have been rejected by levitra super active 20mg pills $195.00 earlier court decisions. If so, it will be important to see whether Congress will now craft new legislation to support USDA's proposal. Certainly, the proposed changes are important and should be watched carefully as they continue through the regulatory and legislative process, Washington Insider believes.
Want to keep up with events in Washington and elsewhere throughout the day? See DTN Top Stories levitra super active 20mg pills $195.00, our frequently updated summary of news developments of interest to producers. You can find DTN Top Stories in DTN Ag News, which is on the Main Menu on classic DTN products, on the News Menu on Farm Dayta, and on the News and Analysis Menu of DTN's newest Professional and Producer products. DTN Top Stories is also on the home page and news home page of online. dtn. com. Levitra super active 20mg pills $195.00 dtn washington insider can be contacted at washington. insider@dtn. com