U.S. Senators Reach Agreement on Cattle Market Reform Legislation

U.S. Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Jon Tester (D-MT), and Ron Wyden (D-OR) introduced the Cattle Price Discovery and Transparency Act. Cosponsors of the bill include Senators: Joni Ernst (R-IA), Mike Braun (R-IN), Tina Smith (D-MN), Cindy Hyde Smith (R-MS), Steve Dains (R-MT), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Ben Lujan (D-MN), Richard Durban (D-IL), and Martin Henrich (D-MN).


The legislation was introduced with the following provisions:


1. Establish regional mandatory minimum thresholds of negotiated cash and negotiated grid trades based on each region’s 18-month average trade to enable price discovery in cattle marketing regions. In order to establish regionally sufficient levels of negotiated cash and negotiated grid trade, the Secretary of Agriculture, in consultation with the Chief Economist, would seek public comment on those levels, set the minimums, and then implement them. No regional minimum level can be more than three times that of the lowest regional minimum, and no regional minimum can be lower than the 18-month average trade at the time the bill is enacted.


2. Require the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to create and maintain a publicly available library of marketing contracts between packers and producers in a manner that ensures confidentiality.


3. Prohibit the USDA from using confidentiality as a justification for not reporting and make clear that USDA must report all Livestock Mandatory Reporting information, and they must do so in a manner that ensures confidentiality.


4. Require more timely reporting of cattle carcass weights as well as requiring a packer to report the number of cattle scheduled to be delivered for slaughter each day for the next 14 days.


“KCA supports a mandatory minimum negotiated trade of no less than 30% of all cattle traded. We are currently evaluating the language of the bill and analyzing the trade numbers to determine if this bill would accomplish the minimum threshold set forth by the KCA policy resolutions. We appreciate the bipartisan progress, and hope this continues through to an acceptable solution. However, this bill currently relies heavily on the USDA to establish and enforce meaningful improvements,” stated KCA CEO, Tyler Dupy.


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