Tester Defends Montana Ranchers, Fights Back Against Consolidation in Agriculture

Senator Holds Agriculture Department Accountable for GIPSA Rules Withdrawal

(U.S. Senate)—U.S. Senator Jon Tester is defending Montana ranchers and “vehemently disagrees” with USDA’s decision to rollback protections that prevent consolidation in agriculture.

In a letter to USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue, Tester slammed the agency’s decision to withdraw two rules related to the Packers and Stockyards Act, commonly referred to as the “GIPSA rules.”

“The industry has consolidated for decades into its current structure that enables a handful of companies to have extraordinary market power,” Tester wrote. “Recognizing that fact, Congress intentionally instructed the Secretary of Agriculture to promulgate new rules in the 2008 Farm Bill to ensure a better functioning marketplace for farmers and ranchers in the livestock and poultry industry.”

Tester has hosted a series of Farm Bill listening sessions across Montana this year with family farmers and ranchers. During these listening sessions, Tester has raised concerns about the consolidation of Montana family ranches and discussed policies that will strengthen opportunities for local producers.

Tester led the charge earlier this year to increase American beef exports to China, and is also sponsoring legislation to protect Montana ranchers by banning Brazilian beef imports to the United States.

Tester’s bipartisan letter is cosigned by Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa).

Tester’s letter is available HERE.