Blog for Rural America

The Center for Rural Affairs, a private, non-profit organization, is working to strengthen small businesses, family farms and ranches, and rural communities. Permission to reprint items from this web log is hereby granted, on the condition that clear credit is given to the original source of the material. If the blog provides information for a story, please let us know by sending an email to

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Pretense and Deception at USDA

Pretense and Deception at USDA

by John Crabtree,

A USDA Inspector General’s audit released on January 18, 2006 found that the Packers and Stockyards Administration has fundamentally failed to enforce the Packers and Stockyards Act – the best assurance farmers and ranchers have that livestock markets will be fair, open and competitive.

Senior officials in the Packers and Stockyards Administration blocked investigations from being referred to USDA lawyers or the Justice Department and employees of the agency were instructed to create the appearance of enforcement activity by recording everything from routine correspondence and review of public data as “investigations.”

The Packers and Stockyards Administration perpetrated a lie, and disillusioned farmers and ranchers in the process. It is wrong for government to turn a blind eye to citizens’ concerns. It is worse when government tells citizens that their concerns are valid and, through pretense and deception, leads citizens to believe that their concerns are being addressed.

Livestock market competition laws are supported by a vast majority of farmers, ranchers and rural citizens, regardless of geography or political affiliation. USDA’s failed enforcement has gone on far too long and has occurred irrespective of the Administration’s party affiliation.

James Link, new director of the Packers and Stockyards Administration, has inherited a severe problem. We hope he will fix it. But the time has come for Congress to act, addressing the lack of competition in livestock markets with legislative reforms and clear directions for enforcement.

post a question or comment here or contact John Crabtree,

Center for Rural Affairs
Values. Worth. Action.


  • At 8:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Maybe what needs to happen is to stop giving USDA their funding until they assure everyone that the livestock markets are fair, open and competitive. Along with
    cutting their funding, maybe they could also reimburse the farmers and ranchers the money that has been basically stolen from them!
    That ought to get USDA to start being a little more honest and enforce the Packers and Stockyards Act.

    I think it is not only wrong that the Packers and Stockyards Administration lied and that the government turned a blind eye to citizens' concerns, I think it is disgraceful!

    Hit the government where it hurts -force them to dish out some of the lost money that farmers and ranchers could have made if the markets were more fair and competitive!


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