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Ag Secretary Pressed on GIPSA Timeline

by 5m Editor
21 February 2011, at 9:45am

US - During a House Agriculture Committee hearing last week on the state of the US farm economy, two Democratic committee members questioned United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack about a timeline for completion of an economic analysis of the department’s controversial Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) proposed rule.

In response to inquiries from Rep. Larry Kissell (D-NC) and Rep. Jim Costa (D-CA), Mr Vilsack replied that he did not have a definite timeframe in place for completion of the economic analysis of the proposed rule, being conducted by USDA Chief Economist Joseph Glauber, Ph.D.

USDA has come under increased pressure, including a bipartisan letter signed by 115 members of the House of Representatives, for not conducting a thorough economic analysis of the proposed rule.

More than 60,000 public comments were filed during the comment period, which closed on 22 November 2010, in response to the rule. News sources at the hearing quoted Mr Vilsack as saying the public comments were currently being “categorized and reviewed” and the department was “obviously interested in getting this process completed as appropriately and quickly as possible.”

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-OK) followed up this line of questioning by asking Mr Vilsack if the department would go through a notice and comment period on a completed economic analysis before moving forward on a final rule. Mr Vilsack indicated that he would need to consider the request internally before responding.

According to an economic analysis commissioned by the American Meat Institute, the rule could eliminate 104,000 US jobs, reduce national gross domestic product by $14 billion and cost $1.36 billion in lost revenues to the federal, state and local governments.