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US: USDA eliminates antitrust enforcement in meatpacking

 |  December 2, 2018

On Thursday, November 29, US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Grain Inspection, Packers, and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) was officially eliminated. Its functions will now be nested under the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS). Among other things, GIPSA was responsible for enforcing antitrust law in the meatpacking business.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue published in the Federal Register a final rule to make a number of management changes that the Trump administration has made at the USDA. Most of the sections of the rule transfer functions of agencies to business centers the administration has established at USDA. But the elimination of GIPSA has created opposition.

Organization for Competitive Markets founding member and Mississippi cattle producer Fred Stokes said in a statement Thursday, “AMS is the most corrupt and compromised agency in Washington D.C., and to subordinate Packers & Stockyards Act enforcement as a program of AMS is the death knell for antitrust enforcement in the meatpacking industry.”

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