After a year-and-a-half of wrangling and responding to Congress and input from stakeholders, the USDA published a final Grain Inspection, Packers & Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) rule on December 9, 2011. For some producers the result was far less than they hoped for while packers and representatives of the meat industry still found lots to complain about in the new rule.

In announcing the publication of the final rule, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack noted that the most recent Agriculture Appropriations bill included language prohibiting the Department from moving forward on a number of important provisions in the proposed rule. A full copy of the full rule is available at http://www.gipsa.usda.gov/Federal%20Register/fr11/12-9-11.pdf.

Some would say that the elimination of many of these items represent an outsized influence of the meat industry compared to the ranchers and growers who actually produce the animals that are slaughtered.