U.S. Sens. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) introduced the bipartisan Cattle Market Transparency Act of 2021. The legislation would restore transparency and accountability in the cattle market by establishing regional cash minimums and equipping producers with more market information.
“I am reintroducing this bill with bipartisan support. It will help facilitate price discovery and provide cattle producers with the information they need to make informed marketing decisions. I am committed to working across the aisle to advance the bill forward this Congress,” Fischer said.
The American Farm Bureau Federation is calling on lawmakers to require increased transparency in America’s cattle markets. “America’s ranchers don’t control the prices they are paid for their products and those raising livestock have legitimate questions about pricing. When the pandemic hit, meat prices at grocery stores went up while the prices paid to farmers fell through the floor. This legislation will ensure farmers and ranchers have fair access to markets and are fully informed on pricing so they can continue to put food on the table in homes across the country,” said AFBF President Zippy Duvall. “We appreciate Senator Fischer and Senator Wyden for introducing the Cattle Market Transparency Act of 2021 and look forward to working with members of the House on a companion bill introduction.”
The Cattle Market Transparency Act of 2021 will:
- Establish regional mandatory minimum thresholds of negotiated cash and negotiated grid trades to enable price discovery in cattle marketing regions. It will require the Secretary of Agriculture in consultation with the Chief Economist, to establish regionally sufficient levels of negotiated cash and negotiated grid trade, seek public comment on those levels, then implement.
- Require USDA to create and maintain a publicly available library of marketing contracts between packers and producers in a manner that ensures confidentiality.
- Prohibit the USDA from using confidentiality as a justification for not reporting and makes clear that USDA must report all LMR information, and they must do so in a manner that ensures confidentiality.
- Mandate that a packer report to USDA the number of cattle scheduled to be delivered for slaughter each day for the next 14 days and require USDA to report this information on a daily basis.
“Cattle producers continue to face serious obstacles when it comes to increasing profitability and gaining leverage in the marketplace,” said National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Vice President of Government Affairs Ethan Lane. “Leveling the playing field and putting more of the beef dollar in producer pockets remains the top priority of this association. NCBA shares Senator Fisher’s objectives, as do its affiliates and indeed the entire industry. The best way to achieve those objectives, however, continues to be hotly debated by the very cattle producers this legislation would directly impact. We have worked and will continue to work alongside our affiliates, Congress, and USDA toward regionally robust negotiated trade, the establishment of a cattle contract library, and commonsense in USDA’s rules of confidentiality by taking direction from our membership through the grassroots policy process.”