NCBA Disappointed in House Passage of Special Investigator Bill


Source: National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA)

June 16, 2022


WASHINGTON (June 16, 2022) – Today, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) expressed strong disappointment in the House passage of the Lower Food and Fuel Costs Act, which incorporates the Meat and Poultry Special Investigator Act.


“Rising food, fuel, and fertilizer prices are hurting cattle producers around the country, but Congress is relentlessly focused on political posturing through this special investigator bill,” said NCBA Vice President of Government Affairs Ethan Lane. “NCBA strongly supports fairness and transparency in the market, but Congress is wasting time with legislative proposals in search of a problem while ignoring real issues impacting cattle producers.”


The special investigator section of the Lower Food and Fuel Costs Act would create a new position at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to investigate broad “anticompetitive” matters. Unfortunately, this position duplicates the work of numerous federal investigative agencies—including the USDA Packers and Stockyards Division, Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Federal Trade Commission, and Department of Homeland Security—who have existing authority, staff, and budget to investigate anticompetitive actions.


This bill is also unfunded, which will divert critical resources away from the Agricultural Marketing Service of USDA at the expense of critical programs producers rely on like market data reporting, meat grading, and the Cattle Contract Library pilot program.


This bill now goes to the Senate for consideration and NCBA urges all senators to reject this proposal.  


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Ag Bill Seeks to Tackle Inflation

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


By Chris Clayton, DTN/Progressive Farmer



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."