Washington, D.C.—The National Council of Farmer Cooperatives (NCFC) today requested that USDA’s Grain Inspection, Packers & Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) extend the comment period for the changes that GIPSA has proposed to the Packers & Stockyard Act. NCFC cited information that USDA could gather at the upcoming Department of Justice/USDA workshop on competition in agriculture, which will focus on the livestock sector, as the reason an extension is warranted.
“The changes outlined in the proposed rule are sweeping in nature, and would dramatically effect the entire livestock sector, including producers in the field and their livestock marketing co-ops,” said NCFC President Chuck Conner. “In addition, it seems odd that USDA would have the comment period for the proposed changes close just four days before the DOJ/USDA workshop on livestock competition, where individual farmers and ranchers will undoubtedly provide a valuable perspective on the issue.”
“As such,” continued Conner, “it seems only reasonable that GIPSA should extend the comment period to allow USDA not only the opportunity to hear directly from producers but also to give everyone involved sufficient time to analyze the potential consequences of the rule changes.”
Since 1929, NCFC has been the voice of America’s farmer cooperatives. Our members are regional and national farmer cooperatives, which are in turn composed of nearly 3,000 local farmer cooperatives across the country. NCFC members also include 26 state and regional councils of cooperatives. Farmer cooperatives allow individual farmers the ability to own and lead organizations that are essential for continued competitiveness in both the domestic and international markets.
America’s farmer-owned cooperatives provide a comprehensive array of services for their members. These diverse organizations handle, process and market virtually every type of agricultural commodity. They also provide farmers with access to infrastructure necessary to manufacture, distribute and sell a variety of farm inputs. Additionally, they provide credit and related financial services, including export financing.