The Fence Post: Tester, Grassley, Fischer, Wyden release cattle price discovery bill

by The Hagstrom Report

Sens. Jon Tester, D-Mont., Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, Deb Fischer, R-Neb., and Ron Wyden, D-Ore., on Monday released the Cattle Price Discovery and Transparency Act of 2022, a revised version of similar legislation introduced last year.

The National Farmers Union immediately announced it supports the bill and urged Congress “to act quickly to pass this critically important legislation.”

“Rampant consolidation in the cattle industry has made pricing in the cattle market increasingly opaque,” said NFU President Rob Larew. “Fair and competitive markets rely on price discovery and transparency. For farmers and ranchers to bargain effectively with packers, they need access to reliable, accurate pricing information. This bill would shed light on the market and bring about greater fairness.

NFU said the bill makes important reforms, including:

â?ª Establishing mandatory minimum purchase volumes for packers through “approved pricing mechanisms” based on five to seven geographic regions, to be determined by the Agriculture Department.

â?ª Bringing more transparency by requiring reporting of cattle weights and slaughter deliveries two weeks in advance.

â?ª Clarifying and implementing a cattle contract library.

â?ª Increasing penalties for violations by packers.

â?ª Requiring livestock mandatory reporting data be made consistently available.

“The updated bill comes after hours of deliberation with leaders of the Senate Agriculture Committee and weeks of technical feedback from the U.S. Department of Agriculture,” said the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association.

The USCA said its Marketing and Competition Committee will review the proposed revisions tonight.

“USCA stands with county, state, and national producer associations across the U.S. in supporting mandatory cash trade minimums – a concept that is also supported by the majority of Senate Agriculture Committee members,” USCA President Brooke Miller said in a news release.