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USDA Oversight of Packers a decade-long SHAM

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PORKER

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USDA oversight of packers a decade-long sham

By ALAN GUEBERT, Columnist
Wednesday, February 8, 2006 1:16 PM MST




For nearly a decade the Packers and Stockyards Administration, the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture watchdog to ensure competitive, fair livestock markets, has been little more than a sleeping dog, according to a devastating, 36-page report released by USDA’s Office of Inspector General Jan. 18.

Indeed, notes the OIG in the undressing of the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration, (at http://www.usda.gov/oig/webdocs/30601-01-HY.pdf), P&S oversight of livestock markets and meatpackers has been so lax since 2000 that “no competition and complex investigations were being done.”

USDA’s own indictment of the one USDA agency American meat and poultry producers have daily contact with is repeatedly clear on that point: For years, Packers & Stockyards has not turned one stone to ensure U.S. livestock markets are fair nor has it found one meatpacker misstep in an industry that drips with both collusion and blood.



But the point is not new.

A similar 1997 OIG investigation recommended a wholesale overhaul of P&S structure and policies to better monitor and regulate the swiftly integrating, quickly consolidating meat industry.

Three years later, a September 2000 Government Accountability Office follow-up found a vastly restructured watchdog, but not a reinvigorated one. P&S “investigative methods,” said the GAO, still had not been “designed for addressing complex anticompetitive practice concerns” that had taken firm root in the livestock sector.



Now arrives the third P&S indictment in less than a decade. Its very first line could have been lifted from the previous two. “The Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration has not established an adequate control structure and environment to oversee and manage its investigative activities.”

Facts contained in the OIG report make a chilling and infuriating case of P&S ignorance, incompetence and failure:

- Records on 1,799 of the 1,842 market investigations P&S said it was conducting as of June 30, 2005 were so incomplete that the OIG could “not identify the location of the work performed.”

- Most of the “investigations” were, in fact, fake, explained the OIG.

“Our review of the complaints and investigations log... [reveals] all types of work performed (i.e., monitoring activities, sending routine correspondence, or performing onsite reviews) as investigations, which would inflate the number of investigations reported as completed in the agency’s annual performance report.”

- The bad records, the cooked numbers and P&S’s “weak management control” meant that “...no referrals were being made to the Office of General Counsel [USDA prosecutors] for administrative action.”

In short, this meatpacker watchdog and market regulator was nothing more than a flea-bitten shadow of what Congress envisioned when it passed the Packers and Stockyards Act of 1921. It did little but create paper, then shuffle it.

All led to nowhere. “OGC filed no administrative complaints against market participants for anti-competitive practices since 1999 due to lack of [P&S] referrals,” summarizes the report.

And all of this as the American livestock-producing and meatpacking sectors were experiencing a tidal wave of consolidation and integration.

As revealing - and sickening - as this latest P&S report is, none of it is even mildly surprising to groups like the Organization for Competitive Markets and R-CALF. Both have screamed bloody murder about the catatonic P&S for years.

Likewise, just as predictable has been the silence of livestock groups like the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the National Pork Producers Council since the report’s release. Neither of the packer-linked groups has even noted the existence of the OIG report.

Golly, can’t one NPPC or NCBA producer-official at least acknowledge that part of their packer-partners’ success in squeezing poultry, pork and beef growers into near extinction is the result of the blind poodles at Packers & Stockyards?

Evidently not, and the silence, like the OIG report itself, is confirmation of the cronyism between USDA, agbiz, and producer groups who have linked up to all but give up the fight for fair markets, strict oversight, and a strong, independent agriculture.

Shame on P&S, who, again, has been caught red-handed snoring away.

Shame on USDA who, again, finds more time to tout agribusiness than regulate it.

And shame, shame on farm groups who let it happen.

© 2006 ag comm
 

PORKER

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Might have something to do with chicken feed protien.Likewise, just as predictable has been the silence of livestock groups like the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the National Pork Producers Council since the report’s release. Neither of the packer-linked groups has even noted the existence of the OIG report.

Golly, can’t one NPPC or NCBA producer-official at least acknowledge that part of their packer-partners’ success in squeezing poultry, pork and beef growers into near extinction is the result of the blind poodles at Packers & Stockyards?
How about controlling the the refeeding of Protiens back to livestock ? Only to their GROWERS!
 

PORKER

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Most of the “investigations” were, in fact, fake, explained the OIG.

“Our review of the complaints and investigations log... [reveals] all types of work performed (i.e., monitoring activities, sending routine correspondence, or performing onsite reviews) as investigations, which would inflate the number of investigations reported as completed in the agency’s annual performance report.”

- The bad records, the cooked numbers and P&S’s “weak management control” meant that THE CHICKEN FEED INDUSTRY depended on cheap cattle or something to that order.
 

ocm

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PORKER said:
Most of the “investigations” were, in fact, fake, explained the OIG.

“Our review of the complaints and investigations log... [reveals] all types of work performed (i.e., monitoring activities, sending routine correspondence, or performing onsite reviews) as investigations, which would inflate the number of investigations reported as completed in the agency’s annual performance report.”

- The bad records, the cooked numbers and P&S’s “weak management control” meant that THE CHICKEN FEED INDUSTRY depended on cheap cattle or something to that order.

So do we believe James Link that the problems have been fixed? Or do we force the fixes down their throats?
 

Econ101

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They have not been fixed. They just changed the band aid. The sore is still festering. We need congressional hearings to get at the truth.
 
A

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If Pickett is any indication, you can't find what's not there.

Unless GIPSA has packers swinging from the ropes, the packer blamers will never be satisfied. Their entire existance depends on needing someone or something to blame for the "ILLUSIONS" in their minds.

Guebert is nothing more than an R-CULT/OCM/LMA mouthpiece.

Where did he present any data on violations that GIPSA missed?

Hello?

Hello?

They hung up again!

All foam and no beer! Same ol' packer blaming story.


~SH~
 

Sandhusker

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SH, why do you bother? Even the Secretary of Agriculture admits there are huge problems and questions with no answers yet. Yet, you're in denial.

I disagree with Econ on calling you a circus chicken. After you're bored with the chicken's antics, you can eat it.
 

mrj

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PORKER said:
Most of the “investigations” were, in fact, fake, explained the OIG.

“Our review of the complaints and investigations log... [reveals] all types of work performed (i.e., monitoring activities, sending routine correspondence, or performing onsite reviews) as investigations, which would inflate the number of investigations reported as completed in the agency’s annual performance report.”

- The bad records, the cooked numbers and P&S’s “weak management control” meant that THE CHICKEN FEED INDUSTRY depended on cheap cattle or something to that order.

Does anyone else see "or something to that order" as a really lame 'verification' of the claim "The bad records, the cooked numbers and P&S's 'weak management control' meant that the chicken feed industry depended on cheap cattle"?

MRJ
 

Econ101

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MRJ said:
PORKER said:
Most of the “investigations” were, in fact, fake, explained the OIG.

“Our review of the complaints and investigations log... [reveals] all types of work performed (i.e., monitoring activities, sending routine correspondence, or performing onsite reviews) as investigations, which would inflate the number of investigations reported as completed in the agency’s annual performance report.”

- The bad records, the cooked numbers and P&S’s “weak management control” meant that THE CHICKEN FEED INDUSTRY depended on cheap cattle or something to that order.

Does anyone else see "or something to that order" as a really lame 'verification' of the claim "The bad records, the cooked numbers and P&S's 'weak management control' meant that the chicken feed industry depended on cheap cattle"?

MRJ

MRJ, since you have a little trouble putting things together, I will spell it out for you.

Packers (which includes Tyson) are influencing GIPSA so that they are ineffective. Packers (which includes Tyson) are influencing the USDA on all their BSE decisons because it is their money at stake. The money is the offal removal that SH has bragged creates efficiency in the packing business. Tyson is taking that offal and with MBM, they are mixing it in their poultry feed so they don't have to buy as many soybeans or other plant protein. The feed is fed to their poultry operations in the south. Because it has potential for BSE in cattle, and many of these poultry farms rely on their farms to raise cattle and chickens, there are possible BSE issues on many, many farms that produce calves for feeding out west.

The poultry litter is produced in these poultry operations and spread on land where cattle are being raised. There is possible contamination of any cattle raised on this land with BSE/TSE agents. Tyson wants to keep their "cheap protein source" even though it could wreck the cattle business. There is a reason why self regulation doesn't work. Tyson is proving that reasononing correct.

The dots between GIPSA ineffectiveness and USDA BSE decisions are connected in what way? What is common between the two beside NCBA former employees in decision making positions in both? I will give you a hint: It starts with T has a yso in the middle and an n at the end.

I know that you are intelligent enough to see all this without me posting it so the real question is, why do you do it? Are you really that stupid or what?
 

PORKER

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Tyson is taking that offal and with MBM, they are mixing it in their poultry feed so they don't have to buy as many soybeans or other plant protein.

Could have not said it any better.
 

PORKER

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Ag Update: Enzi Makes Competitive Markets A Priority



Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has not been properly investigating anti-competitive agricultural product markets and U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., is co-sponsoring legislation to increase producer protections and competition.



“Complaints into anti-competitive practices are not being investigated by the USDA. We need to clean up the system This bill addresses the top needs of producers to ensure that no more investigations are being blocked,” said Enzi.



Enzi co-sponsored the bill which would, for the first time in 80 years, define the word “unfair” as used in the Packers and Stockyard Act.



“Recent actions by courts across the county have put producers on the defensive. They’ve been forced to carry an unfair burden by being required to show the competitive harm to themselves as well as to everyone in the industry. This is an almost impossible situation. This bill would put fairness into the system by making it so producers only have to prove competitive harm to themselves for the particular case in question,” said Enzi.



The bill would also establish an Office of Special Counsel for Competition matters whose leader would be brought before the U.S. Senate for confirmation. The office would be created to investigate and prosecute violations on competition matters.



A recent report issued by the USDA’s Office of the Inspector General in early January found that the Grain Inspection Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA), which is charged with enforcing the Packers and Stockyards Act, prevented employees from conducting investigations of anti-competitive markets and actually embellished the number of investigations being conducted so it would appear they were being responsive.



Last week Enzi signed a bipartisan letter to Senator Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., Chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, calling for a hearing into the actions of GIPSA.



The Packers and Stockyards Act was enacted in 1921 to protect livestock and poultry producers from fraud, abuse and anti-competitive behavior.
 

Econ101

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Every time I have heard Johannes speak about the support he is given in his job he talks about the congressional leadership and how grateful he is to them for their support. They are calling the shots and they are laundering the political donations.
 

PORKER

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The Packers and Stockyards Act has been carefully gutted over the years and you watch when things get HOT ,Who jumps ship in the middle of the ocean.
 

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