Coalition Calls for Congress to Reject User Fees

by Leif Bakken

The American Sheep Industry Association joined half a dozen other livestock groups in calling on Congress to reject any attempts to fund the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Packers and Stockyards Program through user fees.

“Moving PSD to fee funding would be an inequitable shifting of the burden of the program onto the regulated community,” read the letter sent to the U.S. Senate and House ag and appropriations committees. “Beneficiaries of the PSD are the livestock and poultry industry as a whole and livestock producers and poultry growers in particular, not necessarily regulated entities (i.e., livestock market agencies, dealers, stockyards, packers, live poultry dealers and swine contractors). Many of these livestock auction markets and dealers are small, family-owned businesses that would be significantly damaged by this additional financial burden.

“The PSD ‘promotes fair business practices and competitive environments to market livestock, meat, and poultry.’ Indeed, the effect is even broader according to the PSD website: ‘PSD’s work protects consumers and members of the livestock, meat, and poultry industries.’

“Activities carried out by PSD, such as requiring payment protection mechanisms (i.e., bonds, custodial accounts) and prohibiting deceptive practices, are done for the benefit of those who conduct business with the regulated entities, many of whom are not subject to PSD jurisdiction. As such, the cost of the program should continue to fall on the broader beneficiaries through appropriations.

“Additionally, a user fee would encourage the PSD to expand activities for which it could collect user fees, while providing less incentive to manage program costs, improve results, and be efficient.”

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American Sheep Industry Association


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