With the public comment period having ended this week for the proposed GIPSA rules on livestock marketing, what happens now?

While there’s a lot of conjecture on what exactly will happen next, what can happen is several fold, says Colin Woodall, chief of legislative affairs for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA).

“USDA could move ahead with the regulation as is, if they want to; it has that power,” Woodall says. “But, more than likely, they’ll review the comments and lump them into groups of similar concerns; then we’ll see some sort of final rule or interim final rule sometime next month. Right now, there’s no indication that they’ll make any changes to the rule, but they do have that option.”

Woodall says that if what evolves is an interim final rule, another comment period will likely follow. “What that means is that they will have probably made some changes and they need to give an opportunity to hear back on the changes. But if it’s a final rule, it will probably implement 60 days after it’s issued,” he says.

“After that, there are some ways to stop it but it would take legal or legislative action or a combination of both; we’re looking at all the actions right now. I think legislatively it would be extremely hard; legal-wise, it just costs a whole lot of money.”

Woodall says more than 18,000 comments had been submitted as of last week. “The unfortunate thing is that the majority of those comments are not from producers,” he says, with the majority of them being in favor of the rule.
-- Joe Roybal