Last December, we told you that the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA), the USDA division tasked with interpreting the Packers and Stockyards Act of 1921, 7 U.S.C. 181 (the Act), unveiled an interim final rule and two proposed rules that had been in the works for many years. The Interim Final Rule (§ 201.3(a), (b)) specified that conduct or action can sometimes violate the Act without a finding of harm or likely harm to competition. One of the proposed rules intended to regulate poultry grower ranking systems (§ 201.214) and another clarified the definition of Unfair Practices and Undue Preferences (§§ 201.210 and 201.211) under the Act.
The Rules were controversial from the outset and their future has become very uncertain given the change in Administration.
Today, GIPSA officially announced that it is again delaying the effective date of the Interim Final Rule, this time until October 19, 2017. GIPSA also announced that it is asking the public to comment on four possible actions USDA should take in regards to the disposition of the Interim Final Rule. The comment due date is June 12, 2017.
The notice states, “The extension allows ample time for stakeholders to review the effects of the Scope Interim Final Rule on their operations, and ensures maximum opportunity for dialogue across every segment of the livestock, meat, and poultry industries.” The announcement did not reference the proposed rules.
This delay occurs as we still await a Senate vote on the confirmation of a new Secretary of Agriculture. Nominee Sonny Perdue, the former Governor of Georgia, will not face that vote until April 24, after the Easter recess.
We’ll keep you posted.
Read more about the Farmer Fair Practices Rules here.
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