GIPSA Debate on AgWired

Cindy Zimmerman

A story about comments Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) made this week regarding USDA’s proposed GIPSA livestock marketing regulations has generated a flood of comments, thanks to an organized campaign by R-CALF USA.

The Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund, United Stockgrowers of America, better known as R-CALF, took exception to the senator’s remarks during a Senate Agriculture Committee Hearing on the State of U.S. Livestock and sent out a communique to members encouraging them to make comments on the post, calling it a “rare opportunity to defend the GIPSA rule against packer lackeys.”

R-CALF CEO Bill Bullard says Sen. Roberts made “a personal attack against GIPSA Administrator Dudley Butler in an attempt to kill the GIPSA rule” so he returned fire with his own personal attack on the senator:

“Senator Pat Roberts made the most dishonorable and repulsive opening statement that anyone could possibly make at a congressional hearing. Whether you support USDA’s proposed GIPSA rule or not, every American should be appalled at Senator Robert’s theatrics. He lied. He outright lied. Senator Roberts knows, and all his staff knows, that GIPSA Administrator Dudley Butler NEVER said that the proposed GIPSA rule is a lawyer’s dream.”

There have been ethical concerns raised about Butler being in charge of livestock regulations, since he is a trial lawyer who has sued meat and poultry companies and the referenced quote is from a speech Butler made in August 2009 to the Organization for Competitive Markets (OCM), where he said “When you have a term like ‘unfair, unreasonable or undue prejudice,’ that’s a plaintiff lawyer’s dream.”

The proposed GIPSA rule, which would have a significant impact on the marketing and production of livestock and poultry, is obviously a contentious and divisive topic for the industry but it would help if there were more constructive dialogue and less name calling.

GIPSA, Livestock