Time is running out to weigh in on the proposed change in the Grain Inspection Packers and Stockyards Act regulations on livestock marketing.
Monday, Nov. 22 is the final day to submit comments to USDA on the proposed rule change which has proved to be one of the most divisive issues in the cattle industry, pitting the livestock marketing association and the factions associated with R-Calf against the mainstream industry, represented by the National Cattlemen's Beef Association.
A study conducted on behalf of the American Meat Institute says the rules could cost 140,000 jobs and reduce the national gross domestic product by $14 billion.
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsak has requests from 115 U.S. House members and several senators asking for a comprehensive economic analysis of the proposed rule change. He has not offered to do that, but said USDA will review public comments and make sure that all factors are properly considered.
R-Calf insists that the change in regulation will restore competition to the beef market place by preventing cattle buyers from contracting with producers for their supply of cattle.