12-14-16 RMFU: USDA’s Fair Practices Rules Will Work For Ranchers

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USDA’s Fair Practices Rules Will Work For Ranchers

DENVER, C­olo. ­­– The livestock industry is being battered by low prices due to limited competition among cattle buyers. Rocky Mountain Farmers Union welcomes the Fair Practices Rules issued by the United States Department of Agriculture, saying the action will help restore competition to the beef and poultry markets.

“The Fair Practices Rules will put the largest meatpackers on notice that they no longer can manipulate market prices to their advantage,” says Dr. Dale McCall, president of RMFU. “USDA, through the Grain Inspectors, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA), needs to be aggressive in reigning in livestock buyers, who are profiting at the expense of the families who raise cattle.”

The Farmer Fair Practices Rules include an interim final rule that gives producers protection against unfair or discriminatory contract practices and two proposed rules that provide oversight for pricing and payment practices.

“Ranching is a way of life in Colorado, New Mexico, and Wyoming. We need USDA enforcement of this rule to assure livestock buyers treat everyone fairly, rather than giving an advantage to some livestock sellers and limiting market access or income to others,” adds RMFU Executive Director Ben Rainbolt.  “Independent cattle producers expect and deserve no less from the meatpackers.”

A provision was included in the 2008 Farm Bill, authorizing USDA to improve GIPSA regulations; however, until recently, lawmakers repeatedly blocked the funding needed for USDA to finalize these protection rules for family farmers.

RMFU is a general farm organization representing 22,000 members in Colorado, New Mexico, and Wyoming. Organized in 1907, RMFU focuses on educational, cooperative, and legislative programs to improve the lives of its members.