The Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation recently submitted comments for the final Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration or GIPSA rule to the United States Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service.

The comments, submitted in a letter by MFBF President Mike McCormick, state the following changes to the rule should be made.

“First, Farm Bureau supports the proposal’s identifying specific criteria that are considered an “undue or unreasonable preference or advantage.” Farmers and ranchers have long been at a disadvantage due to the uncertainty in identifying what criteria violates the Act, and enumerating these criteria will go a long way in providing much needed clarity.

Second, Farm Bureau supports the proposal not foreclosing the possibility that other activities might constitute an “undue or unreasonable preference or advantage.” While the listed criteria identify the most familiar indicia of unfair practices, it is possible that (1) other non-competitive conduct may escape scope of the identified criteria, or (2) other criteria may be found to better capture predatory practices.

Third, AMS should further define what would be considered a “reasonable business decision that would be customary in the industry.” 85 Fed. Reg. 1771, 1783 (Jan. 13, 2020) (§ 201.211(d)).

We recommend the final rule include, both in general and in detail, lists of the types of AMAs and other marketing arrangements and/or other business practices that are commonly expected to constitute a “legitimate business justification” across a sector or market structure. We want to avoid a situation where some unfair practices that should be considered an undue or unreasonable preference would be considered legitimate just because an unfair practice has become customary in the industry over time.”

To view the entire letter, click here.