Rural Advancement Foundation International-USA: “USDA Makes Grave Mistake by Delaying GIPSA Rule”The Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that it will delay its Interim Final Farmer Fair Practice Rules for 180 days. Currently, farmers who have been harmed or suffered damages because of an integrator’s unfair practices must prove, in addition to the legitimacy of their own claim, that the company’s actions also harmed competition throughout the entire industry. The USDA’s action delays the rules that would protect contract farmers from this unfair and abusive standard by removing the competitive injury requirement. In response to the announcement, Sally Lee, program director at Rural Advancement Foundation International-USA, issued the following statement: “We are shocked to hear that the USDA is delaying the implementation of rules that are meant to provide basic rights and protections to farmers and agricultural communities. This decision poses a real threat to independent livestock and poultry businesses in the U.S. – it also ignores the voices of American farmers, who risked retaliation to show their clear and strong support for these rules. “The USDA’s hasty step backwards – made without the input of a confirmed Secretary of Agriculture – undermines President Trump’s pledge to look out for American farmers and rural voters. This delay indicates that the administration is putting lobbyists and special interests first. “When Sonny Perdue is confirmed as Secretary of Agriculture, we hope he will see this delay as the mistake that it is and work with President Trump to make good on his promises to the American people.” About Sally Lee: Sally Lee is a program director at Rural Advancement Foundation International-USA (RAFI-USA) and director of the new documentary, “Under Contract,” which investigates the abusive contract system that poultry farmers face when working with corporate poultry processors. About RAFI-USA: The Rural Advancement Foundation International-USA’s mission is to cultivate markets, policies, and communities that sustain thriving, socially just, and environmentally sound family farms. RAFI works nationally and internationally, focusing on North Carolina and the southeastern United States. RAFI is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Pittsboro, North Carolina and incorporated in 1990.