Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) called for an investigation of how “thoroughly and effectively” USDA enforces the Packers and Stockyards Act (PSA) of 1921. Harkin asked USDA's Office of Inspector General (OIG) to see how “aggressively and accurately” USDA's Grain Inspection and Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) is “examining and reporting anti-competitive and unfair market practices” in the livestock and poultry markets. Among the issues Harkin wants OIG to consider:

  • Evaluate the GIPSA complaints and investigations from 1999-2005 to see how many complaints producers filed and how many were initiated by GIPSA.

  • Of complaints filed, how many became investigations? How many investigations have been left open for an extended period of time and why weren't they concluded or closed? How many investigations were “halted or closed” by GIPSA headquarters?

  • How many of investigations approved by GIPSA headquarters resulted in “formal administrative complaints for violations of the PSA?”