In this file:

 

·         North American Meat Institute: Special Investigator to Cost Taxpayer $9 Million; is Redundant

… The bill creates an Office of the Special Investigator within USDA to investigate and prosecute Packers and Stockyards Act claims. The office also would have the authority to bring civil actions, which circumvents the Department of Justice's authority… 

 

·         Ag Bill Seeks to Tackle Inflation

House Package Allows E15 Sales Year-Round, Precision Ag Funding, Packer Investigator

 

 

North American Meat Institute: Special Investigator to Cost Taxpayer $9 Million; is Redundant

 

Source: North American Meat Institute (NAMI)

June 16, 2022

 

WASHINGTON, DC – The North American Meat Institute (Meat Institute) today released the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives approved H.R. 7606, the Lower Food and Fuel Cost Act, a bill that establishes a special investigator for meat and poultry at the U.S. Department of Agriculture:

 

    "We are disappointed the House voted to waste $9 million in taxpayer dollars on a redundant special investigator when that money would be much better spent helping Americans seeking assistance from record inflation," said Julie Anna Potts, President and CEO of the Meat Institute. "This bill simply replicates the authorities already granted to USDA and the Department of Justice to enforce the Packers and Stockyards Act and creates an expensive new government office."

 

The bill creates an Office of the Special Investigator within USDA to investigate and prosecute Packers and Stockyards Act claims. The office also would have the authority to bring civil actions, which circumvents the Department of Justice's authority.  In addition, the Special Investigator would consult with the Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice regarding competition and trade practices across all of food and agriculture, and consult with the Department of Homeland Security regarding national security and critical infrastructure security issues across all of food and agriculture.

 

The bill must now be considered by the U.S. Senate.

 

The leading livestock producer organizations, the National Cattlemen's Beef Association and National Pork Producers Council, both oppose the Special Investigator bill. The House Agriculture Committee held three hearings this Congress to examine cattle and beef markets. The Special Investigator bill was not discussed at any hearing.

 

"Of particular concern is the creation of a special investigator empowered to enforce the new changes to the Packers and Stockyards Act regulations soon to be announced by the Biden Administration," said Potts. "These rules – like those previously proposed by USDA under then Secretary Tom Vilsack in 2010 – are likely to have far reaching, unintended adverse consequences. The special investigator (and staff) would feel emboldened and obligated to bring as many cases as possible, warranted or not, to test and expand the legal limits of the new rules. The resulting legal uncertainty and market chaos will accelerate unpredictable changes in livestock and poultry marketing that will add costs to both producers and consumers at a time of high inflation. Congress should not create a duplicative enforcement office, particularly when Congress doesn't know what those new rules will be.

 

"The President's budget request includes increased funding for the Packers and Stockyards program. If there is a problem that must be addressed, Congress should address it through the appropriations process within the context of the existing programmatic office, not by expanding the government with new, redundant offices and authorities." 

 

Further Background:

 

In June 2021, USDA announced plans to propose rules to "strengthen enforcement" of the Packers and Stockyards Act. The expected proposed regulations would be problematic for several reasons, including their impact on livestock producers' options to market their cattle and hogs as they choose.

 

The concepts expressed in USDA's announcement about the planned Packers and Stockyards rules are not new and were considered, and rejected, in the past. When proposed, they will conflict with legal precedent in no less than eight federal appellate circuits, and will hurt livestock producers, packers, and consumers.

 

The Administration's fiscal year 2023 budget request specifically ties increased funding for the Packers and Stockyards program to the forthcoming proposed rules: "Increased funding is requested to fund new statutory requirements, to strengthen oversight of livestock and poultry markets and minimalize IT security vulnerabilities." (p. 82)

 

About North American Meat Institute

 

The Meat Institute is the United States' oldest and largest trade association representing packers and processors of beef, pork, lamb, veal, turkey, and processed meat products. NAMI members include over 350 meat packing and processing companies, the majority of which have fewer than 100 employees, and account for over 95 percent of the United States' output of meat and 70 percent of turkey production.

 

source url

https://www.meatinstitute.org/ht/display/ReleaseDetails/i/216085/pid/287

 

 

Ag Bill Seeks to Tackle Inflation

House Package Allows E15 Sales Year-Round, Precision Ag Funding, Packer Investigator

 

By Chris Clayton, DTN/Progressive Farmer

6/16/2022

 

OMAHA (DTN) -- The House of Representatives on Thursday passed legislation to approve year-round E15 ethanol sales, appoint a special investigator at USDA for Packers & Stockyards Act violations, and aid farmers in buying precision agricultural tools that help reduce the use of fertilizer.

 

The bill, H.R. 7606, is a package of separate agricultural-related provisions. It was dubbed the "Lower Food and Fuel Costs Act," which sparked dueling press events this week by House members on what exactly was needed to help farmers lower costs and increase productivity.

 

The vote on H.R. 7606 was 221-204. The bill goes to the Senate where at least some provisions will be taken up by the Senate Agriculture Committee.

 

Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-Va., drove the ship for much of the bill, compiling separate bills that the other House Agriculture Committee members from both parties had championed and adding it all into one bill.

 

"Inflation requires a response. I want to give thanks to the lawmakers in both parties who've worked on the legislation within this package and who've helped draft a roadmap for our response," Spanberger said.

 

Rep. Glenn "GT" Thompson, R-Pa., ranking member of the House Agriculture Committee, said in a press conference Wednesday that the legislation scapegoats private industry such as packers.

 

"Nothing in this bill would bring about an immediate lowering of food costs for American families," Thompson said.

 

National Farmers Union on Wednesday sent a letter to Congress endorsing the bill, citing that it contains several provisions that fall in line with NFU's "Fairness for Farmers" campaign. "It will provide relief to consumers who are increasingly pressured by rising prices due to corporate control of the marketplace and will help build our rural economies through renewable, affordable fuels infrastructure."

 

YEAR-ROUND E15 ...

 

PACKING PLANT INVESTIGATOR ... 

 

BUTCHER BLOCK ACT ...

 

PRECISION AG AND NUTRIENT MANAGEMENT ...

 

RESILIENCY TASK FORCE ...

 

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https://www.dtnpf.com/agriculture/web/ag/news/business-inputs/article/2022/06/16/house-package-allows-e15-sales-year