NFU pleased by absence of GIPSA and organic livestock riders in Senate Appropriations Bill, disappointed by more conservation cuts
WASHINGTON – On May 19, the Senate Appropriations Committee marked up the fiscal year 2017 appropriations bill, and National Farmers Union (NFU) was pleased to see controversial provisions excluded from the bill.
The organization, representing nearly 200,000 family farmers and ranchers, applauded the exclusion of two amendments that would have blocked funding for the U.S. Department of Agriculture to implement long-awaited regulations aimed at leveling the playing field for livestock and poultry producers.
The Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) rule, a regulation that would reign in abusive contract and marketing practices in the livestock industry, has been blocked annually in the appropriations process since fiscal year 2012.
After the amendment was eliminated in the fiscal year 2016 appropriations package, the House Appropriations Committee reintroduced the rider last month. NFU President Roger Johnson was appreciative the Senate Appropriations Committee chose a different course.
“Our producers have been waiting for the much needed contract protections that the GIPSA rules would provide. We were happy to see Senate Appropriators stand up for family farmers and ranchers by allocating funding to finalize this rule, and we urge lawmakers to keep any amendment blocking this provision out of conference committee,” Johnson said.
NFU was also pleased by the absence of an amendment that would have blocked a proposed rule by the National Organic Program that would create consistency for animal welfare standards in the organic livestock and poultry industry.
Regarding conservation programs that incentivize environmentally-friendly production practices, Johnson expressed disappointment that the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) was not fully funded, cutting mandatory spending by $303 million in today’s Senate Appropriations bill.
“Climate change is impacting production agriculture and directly affecting our ability to meet global food security challenges. Conservation programs, like EQIP, bring value-producing climate solutions to rural America, and they should be fully funded at the levels allocated in the 2014 Farm Bill,” Johnson concluded.