At press time, USDA’s Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) had just released the final version of its new antitrust rule intended to regulate the marketing of meat and poultry. I can think of no issue in the past 20 years that has internally roiled the industry to the extent this issue has over the past 18 months. In the end, USDA decided against the sweeping changes (regarding livestock at least) that had been proposed in the original rule in June 2010, and we’re essentially back where we started.
The GIPSA controversy is the latest in at least a trio of fiascos that have wasted the industry’s time, resources and cohesiveness. Two others are mandatory country-of-origin labeling and the shenanigans over the checkoff that came to a head earlier this year. Imagine what the industry might have accomplished had those resources been dedicated toward something truly worthwhile – like building demand for our product.