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NFU: Imposing Moratorium on Regulatory Actions

by 5m Editor
10 October 2011, at 10:59am

US - The National Council of Farmer Cooperatives and a coalition of organizations sent a letter to the US House Committee on Agriculture and Senate Agriculture Committee, asking them to recommend a two-year moratorium on all discretionary, non-essential regulatory actions to the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction.

In response to the letter, National Farmers' Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson said: "Imposing a moratorium on regulatory action by the federal government seriously damages the ability of the federal government, and especially departments such as the US Department of Agriculture, to react to problems within the agriculture industry.

"In particular, this moratorium would stop the proposed Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) rule from moving forward. The GIPSA rule is absolutely necessary to stop the concentration of the livestock industry. In the last 30 years, the number of hog farms in the US has dropped from 660,000 to 67,000. The number of beef operations has declined from 1.3 million to 740,000 during the same time period.

"This is because packers exert a significant amount of power over the livestock markets. The top four packers control 81 per cent of the beef market and 65 per cent of the pork market. This means that farmers are forced to accept below-market prices for their products because they often have only one potential buyer in their region.

"A two-year moratorium on regulatory action would prevent commonsense regulations such as the GIPSA rule from moving forward. Congress and the federal government must have the ability to act when such problems, such as severe market concentration, arise. We urge members of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees to reject the proposal to impose a two-year moratorium on all discretionary, non-regulatory actions."