Proposed GIPSA rules may be a good thing for packers in future


If you only quote the Amen Corner, the only reply you’ll ever hear is “Hallelujah!”

And so it was in late October when yet another hired preacher of the Meatpacker Gang, a Brooklyn, N.Y., outfit named John Dunham & Associates, claimed proposed rules to bring meatpackers into compliance with the Packers & Stockyards Act will cut 104,000 jobs nationwide, drop Gross Domestic Product by $14 billion, and cost local, state and federal tax collectors another $1.36 billion.

Few facts

Before you yawn and turn the page, allow yourself the insight of a few facts so this study and its numbers aren’t used by Big Meat to beat you like a $2 rug.

First, according to Dunham’s website, studies manufactured in its Brooklyn, N.Y., shop are made with “Our Manifesto” as the guiding light. That manifesto, relates the website, is: “Julius Caesar said. ‘What we wish, we readily believe, and what we ourselves think, we imagine others think also.’”

For those of you who don’t speak Brooklyn Baloney, here’s a translation: “Facts? Who needs facts when we got imagination! This is economics! Hallelujah!”

Second, Dunham brags that for 25 years the firm’s “Guerrilla Economics” has delivered “actionable insights” to “advance policy objectives” through “our unique economic impact studies” that “provide cover and materials to sway legislative votes.”

Translation: “Tell us your goal and our guerrillas will put down their bananas, grab some crayons and draw a map that even Congress can follow. Hallelujah!”

GIPSA regulations

Third, the very first sentence in Dunham’s analysis makes the massive assumption — stated as fact — on which its entire astro-turf analysis, and the packers’ political goals, are built:

“A regulation by the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) would, among other things, adversely affect packers’ and their suppliers’ willingness to use marketing agreements.”

Translation: “Hey, we just took a half million bananas from the America Meat Institute for this 12-page, 15-minute ‘study’ so, yeah, we put some perfume and lipstick — ah, “actionable insights” — on this pig and turned it into sirloin. Hallelujah! Pray no one gets close enough to actually read this swill.”

You can, however, because the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, the group that claims it “has represented cattle producers since 1898” even though 32 out 33 American cattle owners choose not to join, kindly posted Dunham’s pro-packer hymn on its website (

That’s right, brother; NCBA won’t meet or debate one of the tens of thousands of U.S. ranchers who support GIPSA pulling the halter tighter on packers but it posts on its website an in-your-pocket political “study” that praises packers.

Equally puzzling, NCBA, who also serves as the beef checkoff’s $50-million-a-year chief contractor, recently accused Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack of turning “the clock back 50 years” when he refused to bend to the Packer Gang’s call for a “full-blown cost-benefit analysis” of the GIPSA rule.

Vilsack took to the national airwaves to politely say the accusation was “unfair and inaccurate” since USDA, the Small Business Administration and the Office of Management and Budget had all conducted analyses of the rule and that USDA had published it results on “pages 35345 to 35349 of the Federal Register.”

And, the secretary added, he will “forcefully comment” on the “misinformation” pushed by the Packer Gang and its Lackeys once the comment period to the GIPSA proposals ends later this month.

In the meantime, expect packers and their puppets to hold more news conferences to cite more half-million-dollar studies — where do they get all these bananas to pay all these guerrillas for all these crayons — they claim will force packers to better compete.

Wait a minute. A new rule might force packers to better compete everywhere west of Brooklyn?

Hallelujah, brother!  


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Alan Guebert was raised on an 800-acre, 100-cow southern Illinois dairy farm. After graduation from the University of Illinois in 1980, he served as a writer and editor at Professional Farmers of America, Successful Farming magazine and Farm Journal magazine. His syndicated agricultural column, The Farm and Food File, began in June, 1993, and now appears weekly in more than 70 publications throughout the U.S. and Canada. He and spouse Catherine, a social worker, have two adult children.



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