NCC Calls for Withdrawal of Interim GIPSA Rules

Lizzy Schultz

The National Chicken Council (NCC) filed several comments this week with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) explaining the numerous reasons why the agency’s interim final rule and proposed rules are ill-advised, would inflict billions of dollars of economic harm to American agriculture, exceed GIPSA’s statutory authority, and represent an arbitrary and capricious abuse of federal regulatory authority.

“GIPSA fails to provide an adequate justification for imposing such sweeping and detrimental changes to the poultry industry and does not explain corresponding benefits to counterbalance the billions of dollars of detrimental effects this proposal will have on the U.S. economy,” said NCC President Mike Brown in the comments. “The agency also fails even to consider the negative consequences for consumers, innovation, competition and food safety that would result from the proposal.

“We are particularly troubled that the interim final rule and proposed rules appear designed to increase uncertainty and costly litigation—GIPSA even admits that substantial litigation will ensue—with no quantifiable benefits.”

Eight different circuit courts of appeal have addressed a key issue underpinning the rules—the need to prove competitive injury to demonstrate a violation—and they have uniformly and resoundingly rejected the position advanced by GIPSA in these three rules. Rather than acquiesce in these decisions, however, the Obama administration sought to misuse the rulemaking process to achieve what GIPSA has not won in court – and in doing so, gave a gift to trial lawyers on the way out the door.

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