McPHERSON—Kansas Farmers Union President Donn Teske and Vice President Daryl Larson have submitted comments to Kansas Representatives Huelskamp, Jenkins, Yoder and Pompeo urging them to support independent livestock producers this week during a vote on the Fiscal Year 2012 Appropriations Bill.
“I called Congressman Huelskamp’s office and told him that I support GIPSA rule as proposed,” Larson said. “I feel like if don’t move forward, it’s a slap in the face to all the independent cattle producers in the U.S. If Congress caves into the packers, it’s basically tendering to the big boys that have all the financial power.”
The agricultural appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2012 contains a rider that withholds funding to implement the proposed GIPSA (Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration) rule.
The rider is not a cost-saving measure, it’s a thinly-veiled attempt at advancing policy through the appropriations process.
Meatpacker-controlled organizations like the American Meat Institute (AMI) and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), want to kill the GIPSA rule. But organizations like Farmers Union and Farm Bureau want the USDA to continue reviewing comments and complete an economic analysis.
“The members of the 112th Congress have the same opportunity to stand up and support rural America. They can support the rule-making process that more than 60,000 Americans took their time to comment on in order to have their voices heard. Asking USDA to re-propose the rule would be telling those Americans that their voices were not the ones we wanted to hear,” National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson said in a letter to members of Congress.
The U.S. House of Representatives is likely to vote on the Appropriations Bill on June 15. Kansas’ cattle producers need to contact their Representative and tell them to support Congresswoman Kaptur and oppose Congress’ effort to kill the GIPSA rule and allow the meatpackers to continue capturing control over our U.S. cattle market.
“I think it speaks volumes that the two largest general farm organizations in the country, the Farmers Union and the American Farm Bureau both support implementation of GIPSA yet special interests can still cause this much controversy. It shows how misleading propaganda can affect an issue and also shows how much influence the meat packing industry has on our political process,” Teske said.