Tuesday, November 22, 2011


The Agriculture Department’s Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration spent most of 2011 pushing a controversial draft regulation curtailing livestock producers’ ability to sign long-term contacts with meat packers.

So, HOTH was a bit surprised to see analysts from another USDA agency extol the virtues of those same contracts in a new article.

In the article in the December issue of USDA’s Amber Waves magazine, four researchers from the Economic Research Service conclude that producers enjoy “multiple benefits” from packer contracts. Among them are reduced risk, better access to capital and the ability to increase the size of their farms—all benefits cited by pork producers and others in consistently opposing the draft GIPSA regulation.
But perhaps the article wasn’t that untimely, since it surfaced after the regulation suffered two serious setbacks in as many weeks. First, USDA jettisoned some of the regulation’s key provisions. Then Congress limited the department’s ability to implement the regulation in the annual USDA spending bill.

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