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Harkin calls for hearing on GIPSA's enforcement of Packers and Stockyards Act

Agriculture.com Staff 01/23/2006 @ 9:16am

Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) has called for a hearing, after a report last week showed a failure by USDA's Grain Inspection Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) to enforce the Packers and Stockyards Act. On Friday Senator Harkin sent a bipartisan letter to Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, calling for the hearing.

The report, issued last Wednesday by USDA's Office of the Inspector General (OIG), found that GIPSA management has prevented employees from conducting investigations into complaints of anti-competitive market behavior and covered up the lack of enforcement by inflating the reported number of investigations conducted.

"The Inspector General's findings are very serious, and we need to get to the bottom of this," said Harkin. "I'm concerned not only by GIPSA's performance but other high ranking officials whose job it was to oversee that agency.

"Our Committee should examine these issues to find out more about how this situation developed and about what needs to be done to correct it. America's livestock and poultry producers deserve to know why USDA failed to enforce laws specifically designed to protect them."

The Packers and Stockyards Act, enacted in 1921, was intended to protect livestock and poultry producers from fraud, abuse and anti-competitive behavior. GIPSA is responsible for enforcing the law.

Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) has called for a hearing, after a report last week showed a failure by USDA's Grain Inspection Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) to enforce the Packers and Stockyards Act. On Friday Senator Harkin sent a bipartisan letter to Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, calling for the hearing.

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