Tester Statement on New USDA Reports on Market Transparency

Two new weekly reports will give insight into industry pricing and sales volume

Following a years-long push from U.S. Senator Jon Tester, the Department of Agriculture (USDA) is creating two new weekly reports to increase price transparency in the cattle market. In response, Tester issued the following statement:

“This is a great step towards ensuring cattle markets are transparent, fair, and competitive for producers in Montana and across the nation,” Tester said. “For too long, market consolidation has hurt the bottom lines of Montana ranchers and cow calf operators, and denied them a fair shake. There’s still a long way to go to ensure market certainty, and I’m going to keep pushing to make sure the USDA listens to Montana producers and takes action to ensure stronger competition in the marketplace.”

Tester is a longtime champion of reducing consolidation in agriculture markets. After a sustained push from Tester, the USDA announced today that they will be issuing two new weekly reports to increase cattle market transparency. The first report, the National Daily Direct Formula Base Cattle, will provide greater information into the foundational prices used in cattle market formulas, grids, and contracts. The second report, the National Weekly Cattle Net Price Distribution, will show the volume of cattle purchased at each different level of pricing within those formulas, grids, and contracts.

Both reports come on the heels of Tester introducing his bipartisan Meat Packing Special Investigators Act that would create the “Office of the Special Investigator for Competition Matters” within the (USDA) Packers and Stockyards Division. The new USDA special investigator will have a team of investigators, with subpoena power, dedicated to preventing and addressing anticompetitive practices in the meat and poultry industries and enforcing our nation’s antitrust laws.