The U.S. Cattlemen's Association expressed disappointment that the House Appropriations Committee, which took action on the fiscal year 2013 Agriculture Appropriations bill in late June, has stripped funding for the inspection of horse processing facilities as well as funding that would have enabled the Department of Agriculture's Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration to make needed antitrust definitions under the Packers and Stockyards Act.
The comprehensive fiscal year 2013 Agriculture Appropriations bill provides over $19.4 billion in discretionary funding.
Rep. Jim Moran's, D-VA, amendment that prohibits funding of USDA inspections for horse processing facilities was approved and added to the overall appropriations bill after the issue was mischaracterized by many on the committee. Funding for USDA inspections of horse slaughter facilities was approved in the fiscal year 2012 agriculture appropriations bill and several investment groups were proceeding with plans to develop horse processing facilities.
"The restriction of this funding chokes any business development plans for these groups," noted USCA Executive Vice President Jess Peterson. "In addition, it aggravates the rising problem of the improper disposal of unwanted equines. This was an unfortunate decision by the committee."
An amendment introduced by Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-OH, would have fully funded the remaining provisions in the GIPSA rule and would have allowed GIPSA to define anti-competitive practices covered by the Packers and Stockyards Act. "Unfortunately, by failing to support Rep. Kaptur's effort to attach the amendment to the final bill, the committee caved on their support for rural America." said Peterson. "While Rep. Kaptur's amendment focused primarily on contract poultry growers, it sought to reinstate fair and transparent market practices within the entire agriculture sector. USCA is very disappointed to see the measure defeated."
USCA urges all House members to review these two amendments and assess whether their inclusion in the appropriations bill will benefit the nation's agriculture sector. "Agriculture funding provided through this appropriations bill is vital to producers but the committee has missed its mark," said Peterson. "There are several amendments approved by the House Appropriations Committee that the full House should strip from this bill while others should be added. Clearly, there is more work to do and I encourage producers to engage in this very important process."
Established in March 2007, USCA is committed to concentrating its efforts in Washington, DC to enhance and expand the cattle industry's voice on Capitol Hill. USCA has a full-time presence in Washington, giving cattle producers across the country a strong influence on policy development. For more information go to www.uscattlemen.org.