After Tester’s Push, USDA Launches Cattle Contracts Library to Increase Market Transparency

Senator has led the effort to increase transparency in the beef industry and give producers a chance to compete in the marketplace

As a direct result of U.S. Senator Jon Tester’s continued push to increase cattle pricing transparency and fight consolidation in the beef industry, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) this week announced the launch of its pilot Cattle Contracts Library. Tester worked with his colleagues on both sides of the aisle, including Senator John Hoeven (R-N.D.), to secure this program, which was funded through the 2022 and 2023 government funding bills.

The establishment of a cattle contract library was a key provision in Senator Tester’s bipartisan Cattle Price Discovery and Transparency Act.

“As a third-generation farmer, I will take on anyone in Washington to make sure Montana ag producers get what they need,” said Tester. “That’s why I’ve demanded that we bring some transparency to the marketplace and crack down on the anti-competitive practices hurting our family farmers and ranchers. Creating a cattle contracts library is an important step in the right direction, but make no mistake – there is more work to be done.”

The pilot Cattle Contracts Library will increase transparency in the beef industry by shedding light on the key terms, conditions, and volumes of cattle sales. This information will help cattle producers take advantage of opportunities to better compete in the marketplace.

As the Senate’s only working farmer, Tester has long been Montana’s leading champion for family farmers and ranchers. Last Congress, he introduced two bipartisan anti-consolidation bills – the Meat Packing Special Investigator Act, which would create the “Office of the Special Investigator for Competition Matters” to prevent and address anticompetitive practices in the meat and poultry industries, and the Cattle Price Discovery and Transparency Act, which would establish minimums for negotiated sales and require clear reporting of marketing contracts.

Earlier this month, Tester introduced his bipartisan American Beef Labeling Act, which would reinstate mandatory country of origin labeling (MCOOL), increasing transparency for consumers and giving American producers a fair shake.

You can view USDA’s Cattle Contracts Library Pilot Program webpage HERE.


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