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GIPSA Extends Comment Period on New Rule by 90 Days

Monday, July 26, 2010

(American Meat Institute)

USDA today announced a 90-day extension to the comment period on the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) “undue preferences rule” that would place certain restrictions on how livestock are marketed. The proposal published June 22, 2010, with a 60-day comment period. 

As a result of the extension, comments will now be due by November 22, 2010.

In announcing the extension, USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Edward Avalos acknowledged the many requests for and against extensions of the comment period and said, “We take these requests very seriously.  We feel it is important that producers and other stakeholders have adequate time to comment on the proposed rule.”

AMI President J. Patrick Boyle, who had requested a 120-day extension (http://www.meatami.com/ht/a/GetDocumentAction/i/60688), called the move “a step in the right direction” given the size and scope of the rule, but one that should have gone further. 

“While we appreciate the additional time, the new deadline precedes USDA’s final public meeting on competition issues schedule for December – a meeting that officials indicated in Congressional testimony this week is extremely important in determining public views on this issue,” he said.  “Had the full 120 days been granted, the public meeting would have preceded the comment deadline and allowed all interested parties the full benefit of the public discourse in formulating their comments.”

Boyle also expressed to appreciation to House and Senate leaders who sent letters to USDA encouraging an extension to the comment period.  Noting that the rule is “broad in scope” and will have “far reaching effects on meat and poultry production in the U.S.,” 22 House members sent a letter July 16 asking for a 120-day extension saying that “the proposed rule contained no economic analysis regarding its need or impacts and interested parties will be unable to develop this data in the short timeline allowed.  Seventeen Senators wrote to the Secretary July 21 and expressed concern that the government is “missing a unique opportunity to hear directly from the various stakeholders” with its short comment deadline that precedes key public meetings and urged USDA to extend the comment period beyond the December 6th public meeting in Washington, DC.  

“As you move forward, we urge USDA to carefully consider the proper role and scope of federal regulation in this area and to actively listen to the concerns of everyone who will be impacted by this proposal,” the Senators said.  

To view the House letter, click here: http://bit.ly/bWPpBf  To view the Senate letter, click here:  http://bit.ly/aqsfVf

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