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Ernst: Midnight GIPSA Rule Hurts Family Farms, Discourages Competition

WASHINGTON, D.C. –  U.S. Senator Joni Ernst released the following statement today after the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) released its interim final rule to broaden the scope of the Packers and Stockyards Act of 1921, which could cause harm to family farms in Iowa.

“This is another last-ditch effort by this administration to insert big government into the livelihoods of Iowa’s hard-working farmers,” stated Ernst. “This GIPSA rule would inflict high costs on livestock producers and make it more difficult for folks to obtain credit to begin livestock farming. The pork industry alone is looking at an additional $350 million in annual costs as a result of this rule.

“At a time when the realities on the ground are far different than the rosy picture painted by the USDA, the government needs to be giving our farmers certainty and stability to move upwards, instead of implementing costly rules that smother competition.

“Additionally, the ‘midnight rule’ –  a costly federal regulation that takes shape as a United States President’s term comes to a close – is a flawed and shameful approach to governing, and our family farms should not be the brunt of last-minute political gain. Earlier this month, more than 20 senate colleagues and I wrote President Obama and asked that his administration stop issuing non-emergency rules and regulations in the final weeks of his term. I am disappointed to see that today, our request was ignored, and it is politics as usual in Washington, D.C.”

In September, Senator Ernst questioned USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack on the harmful effects farmers, ranchers, land owners, and consumers face in Iowa from costly and burdensome federal regulations on the agriculture industry, including the GIPSA rule that was implemented today. At the September hearing, Secretary Vilsack committed to Senator Ernst that he will provide a 60-day public comment period, allowing farmers and producers to submit their comments on the rule.

In addition, earlier this year Senator Ernst, along with U.S. Congressman Tim Walberg (R-MI) and Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) introduced bicameral legislation to prevent a surge in costly federal regulations as a United States President’s term comes to a close. The Midnight Rule Relief Act would protect hard working families and small businesses from major regulations that are often politically motivated and  hastily imposed between Election Day and Inauguration Day.