Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Will GIPSA help or hurt young producers?

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has made a big deal about wanting to entice young people to stay in agriculture, and in particular ranching, where the number of producers is reportedly dwindling.

But the National Cattlemen's Beef Association raises this question about the rule proposed by the Grain Inspectors, Packers and Stockyards Administration.

Will cattle producers be helped or hurt by the proposed GIPSA regulation that is intended to provide protection for producers against unfair, fraudulent or retaliatory practices in the livestock business?

That is the question that many in the cattle business are asking now, less than two months after the rule was proposed. Many of the smaller cow-calf producers that the rule is supposed to benefit are expressing serious reservations about the profound impact it could have on their livelihoods.

Meet Robbie LeValley, a lifelong cow/calf producer who operates a ranch with her husband Mark and two sons in Hotchkiss, Colorado. Her family operation is one of six that together own Homestead Meats, which offers natural beef for sale direct to consumers, retailers and restaurants. The six families also own a USDA inspected packing plant where they market their own animals and provide custom processing. LeValley is also president of the Colorado Cattlemen's Association.

She is worried the proposed rule could have a negative impact on her family business. One concern for Robbie is the long term impact of the proposed rule on the next generation of livestock producers, like her two sons who represent the fourth generation in her family business.

"We operate on a very thin margin already, so the potential for additional government intervention or increased litigation just reduces that margin even more," she said. "Is there enough of a margin to bring in that fourth generation?"

LeValley would like to see an in-depth, cost-benefit analysis done on the proposal before it is rushed into implementation.

"Where is the research that shows there is problems in the marketplace and that these proposed rules will do anything to address those problems?"

No comments:

Ag in the West social media watch

Capital Press videos on YouTube

Our most popular videos