What is Next For GIPSA and the Poultry Industry?

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Now that the comment period for the GIPSA Rule is over, farmers, ranchers, producers, and industry partners are pondering what the USDA will do.

Proposals include: setting a pay scale for poultry growers, putting tighter controls on contracts that require farmers to make costly upgrades, and making it easier for farmers to sue poultry companies over contract violations. The USDA was empowered to create new poultry contract rules by the 2008 Farm Bill.

From the National Chicken Council:

“The proposed rule is ill-advised, exceeds GIPSA‟s statutory authority, and, for some provisions,
is unconstitutionally vague,” said a 45-page letter signed by George Watts, president of the
National Chicken Council.

Comments from the farmers include:

"The rules have the potential (to help) depending on the interpretation, and how they are enforced," said Dale Reeves, a Rockingham County [Virginia] poultry farmer. "We're trying to make a more equal footing, so growers have rights, and contracts are not so lopsided in favor of the (poultry companies)."

The USDA's next steps will be to sort and analyze the 60,000 plus comments received. Additional actions will include a cost - benefit analysis, and if needed, a redrafting of the proposed rule. USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack did not predict what type of timeline would be followed.