In light of the recent hearings held on the Hill in Washington, D.C. the U.S. Cattlemen's Association (USCA) would like to address a few points that were repeatedly left out of the discussion. In the Senate, Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) convened "The State of the Livestock Industry in America" hearing at the beginning of the month. USCA appreciates Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow convening this hearing as with discussions beginning on the 2012 Farm Bill and the future of a livestock title is discussed, USCA welcomes such opportunities to discuss the current issues facing the industry. While the Senate hearing sought to address all issues within the livestock industry, the House Small Business Committee Subcommittee on Agriculture, Energy, and Trade's Hearing "Regulatory Injury: How USDA's Proposed GIPSA Rule Hurts America's Small Businesses" focused solely on the Grain Inspection, Packer and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) proposed rule, and notably carried with it an overtly biased platform in which to discuss the issue.
The Senate livestock hearing highlighted some successes in farm policy including natural resource programs, record commodity prices driven by strong exports and pending free trade agreements (FTA's) to open more export markets. The USDA's Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) proposed rule to increase fairness in the marketing of livestock and poultry was one of the more controversial topics of the day and was discussed extensively. Unfortunately, the hearing failed to clarify many misconceptions about the rule. Numerous participants and Senators railed against the proposed rule, yet, none of those opposed to the rule offered any suggestions on what their remedies would be. If hearings such as this are to accomplish anything, it seems people on all sides of an issue should be allowed to respectfully present their case.
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