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USDA Delays Effective Date of GIPSA Interim Final Rule; Meat Institute Welcomes News

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

(North American Meat Institute)

The Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) delayed the effective date of the Scope of Sections 202(a) and (b) of the Packers and Stockyards Act Interim Final Rule (IFR) until October 19, 2017. The IFR, which was scheduled to take effect April 22, would change the applicable legal standards concerning unfair or discriminatory trade practices, making it unnecessary to demonstrate that a trade practice harms competition to prove a violation of the Packers and Stockyards Act.

The delay allows the new Agriculture Secretary an opportunity to review the rule and comments submitted in late March. The agency also published a proposed rule seeking comment regarding whether the IFR should be permanently withdrawn, among other options. Comments on the proposed rule are due by June 12, 2017.

Meat Institute President and CEO Barry Carpenter welcomed the delay, calling the move "imperative to ensure this damaging rule does not take effect without a careful review by the new Administration. We are confident that once the new Secretary of Agriculture takes office, he will recognize what a disaster this rule is for producers, meat packers and processors, retailers and consumers."

"Allowing the IFR to become effective would simply line the pockets of trial lawyers, while making our industry less competitive and our livestock producer-partners less profitable," Carpenter added.

The Meat Institute's reaction was echoed by the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, National Pork Producers Council and National Chicken Council, each of whom called for the IFR to be withdrawn.

The Meat Institute previously submitted comments on the IFR, as well as two earlier proposed rules, calling for the agency to abandon all of them.

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