Protecting Food. Empowering Whistleblowers.

Food Integrity Campaign Blog

Founding of GIPSA

Briana Steele | December 2, 2020

As part of a reorganization at USDA, the Packers and Stockyards Administration was merged with the Federal Grain Inspection Service, creating a new agency: the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA). GIPSA continued to hold the authority and responsibility for oversight of livestock and poultry companies, and enforcement of the Packers and Stockyards Act of 1921.

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Contract poultry grower, Eric Hedrick, delivering petitions to members of Congress

Congress held accountable & no GIPSA rider passes

Briana Steele | November 30, 2020

Farmers and advocates are finally able to hold members of Congress accountable during the 2015 appropriations process, and the budget passes without a GIPSA rider, allowing USDA to finally finish their rulemaking process. 

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USDA releases a watered-down, single rule

Briana Steele | November 30, 2020

USDA releases a watered-down, single rule, the only one remaining from the original 2010 Farmer Fair Practice Rules that the Trump Administration did not discard. This rule has been widely criticized for being too weak to ensure enforcement of the PSA, and failing to address farmer and rancher concerns that have been voiced for decades. 

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Logo of U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Marketing Service

Diminished oversight of meat & chicken companies

Briana Steele | November 30, 2020

In 2017, at the same time the Farmer Fair Practice Rules are permanently discarded, GIPSA gets a demotion. The new Trump Administration moves oversight of the powerful meat and chicken companies from having a self-standing agency within USDA, to being buried within the Agricultural Marketing Service. Essentially, GIPSA was moved to a branch of USDA that normally collaborates with companies, and does not normally conduct oversight of companies. This move signals a retreat from the decades-long effort to ensure that farmers and ranchers are justly protected by the PSA. 

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Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue attends a Farmer's Roundtable where President Donald Trump signed the Executive Order Promoting Agriculture and Rural Prosperity in America April 25, 2017, at the White House in Washington, D.C.. USDA photo by Preston Keres

Trump Administration discards the “Farmer Fair Practice Rules”

Briana Steele | November 30, 2020

Shortly after stepping into office, Sonny Perdue and the Trump Administration permanently discard the Farmer Fair Practice Rules, before they ever make it into law. 

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U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) employees gathered in the lobby of the Whitten Building to wish Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack best wishes upon his departure from the USDA where he has served as Secretary for the past 8 years. Best wished to the Secretary and his family in Washington, DC on Friday, Jan. 13, 2017. USDA photo by Tom Witham.

USDA releases “Farmer Fair Practice Rules”

Briana Steele | November 30, 2020

In the final weeks of the Obama Administration, USDA releases a reduced set of three rules, known now as the “Farmer Fair Practice Rules” that center on key issues from the original 2008 Congressional mandate in the Farm Bill. These include issues like ensuring that farmer pay is fairly calculated, and ensuring that companies cannot retaliate against farmer whistleblowers for speaking out about industry conditions.

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“John Oliver Show” exposes GIPSA Rider corruption

Briana Steele | November 30, 2020

An episode of the popular Last Week Tonight with John Oliver exposes the undemocratic GIPSA Rider corruption, calling out individual lawmakers for the first time in a widespread public platform. 

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Cartoon: Farmers Beware of GIPSA Rider!

Industry Lobbyists block new rules from becoming law

Briana Steele | November 25, 2020

Sensing that regulation was inevitable, industry lobbyists took a back-door approach to block these rules from becoming law. For five years in a row the industry heavily lobbied individual members of Congress to add the infamous “GIPSA Riders” into the budget appropriations process, preventing USDA from releasing the rules.

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61,000+ comments in support of GIPSA rules

Briana Steele | November 24, 2020

USDA releases a set of draft rules for public comment, based on the 2008 mandate from Congress. Often referred to as the “GIPSA Rules,” they receive over 61,000 comments, the majority in support of the rules, many coming directly from farmers and ranchers themselves.

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Outcry from farmers, ranchers & advocates led to new PSA rules

Briana Steele | November 24, 2020

In the 2008 Farm Bill, Congress responded to outcry from farmers, ranchers, and farm advocates, and demanded that USDA develop new rules to clarify the PSA. Ensuring that the protections for farmers and ranchers would be enforced in today’s modern industry climate.

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