Rep. Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.) introduced the Price Reform in Cattle Economics (PRICE) Act, a bill that will increase transparency in the cattle market, improve risk management, and support new and expanding meat processors.
Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture released the “Box Beef & Fed Cattle Price Spread Investigation Report,” which identified a number of systemic issues in the cattle market. Johnson introduced the PRICE Act in response to the findings of this report.
The cattle market faced extreme volatility following the Tyson Holcomb plant fire in 2019 and again during the COVID-19 pandemic. The PRICE Act provides greater price reporting and transparency, comprehensive risk management solutions, bolsters small processor and producer-owned cooperative processing opportunities, and updates the Packer and Stockyards Act to create a cattle contract library.
“Cattle country is hurting and has not fully recovered,” said Johnson. “USDA laid out several areas where Congress can implement real solutions to improve the market — the PRICE Act is the answer to many of the issues our ranchers have faced for years. Our producers want a fair market and fair prices and that’s what this bill delivers. Congress needs to deliver for cattle country.”
“There is no disputing that the beef and livestock industry as a whole faced a challenging year. Following the fire at the Holcomb plant to the disruption caused by COVID-19, we have seen volatility like never before,” said Scott VanderWal, a producer from Volga who serves as the South Dakota Farm Bureau President. “No one solution is perfect, but a combination of common-sense, free-market changes can help. South Dakota Farm Bureau is pleased to see the introduction of the PRICE Act to promote greater price reporting and transparency in the market, diversification of processing and more comprehensive risk-management solutions.”
“SDCA thanks Representative Johnson for the comprehensive package of important issues addressed in the PRICE Act,” said South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association President Eric Jennings. “From furthering livestock risk management education to addressing cover crops on Prevent Plant acres, the PRICE Act addresses many of the issues and challenges beef producers face that have been highlighted by the Covid-19 pandemic. In particular, we have long supported the ability to ship our state inspected beef products across state lines. It’s also critical to find the right solution to livestock marketing issues, the proposed feasibility study for additional cattle processing facilities along with helping smaller beef processing plants increase their production are steps in the right direction.”
Ethan Lane, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Vice President of Government Affairs said, “This legislation is a significant step in the right direction as we continue to explore ways to support producers who have been impacted by two major black swan events, in an already volatile cattle market.”
The PRICE Act is cosponsored by Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Mike Conaway (R-TX), and Reps. Darren Soto (D-FL), Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Henry Cuellar (D-TX), Frank Lucas (R-OK), Greg Gianforte (R-MT), David Rouzer (R-NC), Rick Crawford (R-AR), Jason Smith (R-MO), Tom Emmer (R-MN), and Jim Hagedorn (R-MN). It is also supported by the American Farm Bureau Federation, South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association, and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.