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Farm bill provision could be step backward for private producers

Finally, action on the farm bill is in sight. It is expected that the conference committee will be sending a farm bill to the full Congress in the next few weeks. 

However, there is a little publicized provision in the House version of this bill that would strip the power of U.S. Department of Agriculture to use their authority through the Grain Inspection Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA).

GIPSA was established in 1921 when five companies controlled between 75 and 80 percent of all interstate slaughter. At this time, forward-thinking congressmen saw the problems created when only a few companies controlled so much of the market share, so they implemented the most comprehensive anti-trust legislation ever enacted in the U.S.

Furthermore, North Dakota ranchers, like my family and I, fought hard in the 2008 farm bill to use this USDA authority to protect poultry, livestock and swine contract farmers from devastating practices by corporate agriculture.

Now, current policy makers in Washington, D.C are trying to strip GIPSA protections and the 2008 protections out of the farm bill.

Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., sits on the conference committee that will decide whether or not to include this dangerous provision. But, he has not said he will oppose it. This decision is coming quickly and North Dakota’s ranchers and consumers need his leadership to stop this House provision from inclusion in the full farm bill.