“This administration needs to stand up and look carefully at the unintended consequences occurring in rural America as a result of the unnecessary and burdensome regulations that lack science and a cost benefit analysis,” says Steve Foglesong, president of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA). “The administration sits idle while more and more regulations are proposed and implemented. It is refreshing to see the tables turning and real leaders who understand the reality of agriculture standing firm on their commitment to protect America's farmers and ranchers.”
Foglesong is referring to recent changes in Congressional leadership and action that promise to help cattle producers.
For one, Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK) was confirmed last week as the House Ag Committee Chair. He has roots in the business. His commonsense approach and belief that voters need to take back their country from the government came through loud and clear when I listened to him at a stocker conference a couple of years back.
Colin Woodall, NCBA vice president of government affairs, had this to say following Lucas’ appointment:
“Under the leadership of Rep. Lucas, we expect the Environmental Protection Agency, USDA’s Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) and other departments within this administration to be held accountable for regulations that will stymie the success of innovative and creative cattle producers who are the very best stewards of the land.”
During a live televised episode of NCBA's “Cattlemen to Cattlemen” last week, Lucas spoke about his commitment to thoroughly review the whole host of regulations being put forth by various departments and agencies.
Specifically, Lucas discussed the proposed GIPSA rule. He said the way the rule is put together will likely result in a “tremendously devastating” impact on the livestock sector. He said the proposed rule includes language that was defeated in the three previous farm bills.
According to Lucas, “Congress wouldn’t give them authority. It’s a set of rules that they tried to go through the courts to force implementation and a half-dozen court cases ruled against them. So, if you can’t get the elected officials to do it, and you can’t get the courts to implement it, then you use the rulemaking process and that’s where we are right now.
“We had a hearing back in July in the livestock subcommittee where, in a very bipartisan way, we attempted to get the administration and USDA’s attention. They’ve gone forward anyway and are continuing that process. The GIPSA rule is contrary to the will of Congress. It is contrary to the opinion of the courts in past cases. And I just don’t think it’s good for us,” Lucas said.
Later last week, Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) discussed the long list of regulations with Ramona Emilia Romero during a Senate Ag, Nutrition and Forestry Committee hearing to consider her nomination as the general counsel for USDA.
“We write legislation here and work very hard to produce a farm bill or any other bill and then all of a sudden it goes to some federal agency and it has happened in many administrations. And whatever pops out of the woodwork in the Federal Register doesn’t resemble the intent that we think should be the case. That’s a continued sort of an arm-wrestling contest,” Roberts said. “But on GIPSA, we really have strong feelings about that. And I’m glad ranking member Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) brought up the situation with GIPSA Administrator J. Dudley Butler. He ought to recuse himself, and I feel pretty strongly about that. And with your background, I think you can take a hard look at that.”