Cattle market reform bill reintroduced in Senate

Cattle market reform bill reintroduced in Senate
February 2nd, 2023 | RRN Staff

U.S. Senators Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), and Jon Tester (D-Mont.) today introduced the bipartisan Cattle Price Discovery and Transparency Act of 2023.

The legislation would establish regional cash minimums and equip producers with more market information, including permanently authorizing a cattle contract library.

“I continue to hear from Nebraska family farmers and ranchers about the need for robust price discovery and transparency in our cattle markets,” Senator Fischer said. “Support for our bill is stronger than ever, with a long list of cosponsors representing a diverse set of agricultural communities from across the country. I look forward to working with them all to build on the strong momentum we had last year.”

The bill has the support from a number of agriculture groups including the Farm Bureau, Famers Union, Nebraska Cattlemen and U.S. Cattlemen’s Association.

“Senator Fischer’s continuous work to address the complex price discovery and market transparency issues facing the beef cattle industry is greatly appreciated by Nebraska Cattlemen,” Nebraska Cattlemen President Steve Hanson said. “We are grateful for her commitment to serve Nebraska’s cattle producers.”

Sens. Fischer, Wyden, Grassley, and Tester introduced the Cattle Price Discovery and Transparency Act last year. In June, the Senate Agriculture Committee approved the legislation, which passed by voice vote.

The Cattle Price Discovery and Transparency Act of 2023 will:

  1. Require the Secretary of Agriculture to establish 5-7 regions encompassing the entire continental U.S. and then establish minimum levels of fed cattle purchases made through approved pricing mechanisms. Approved pricing mechanisms are fed cattle purchases made through negotiated cash, negotiated grid, at a stockyard, and through trading systems that multiple buyers and sellers regularly can make and accept bids. These pricing mechanisms will ensure robust price discovery and are transparent.
  1. Establish a maximum penalty for covered packers of $90,000 for mandatory minimum violations. Covered packers are defined as those packers that during the immediately preceding five years have slaughtered five percent or more of the number of fed cattle nationally.
  1. Create a publicly available library of marketing contracts, mandating box beef reporting to ensure transparency, expediting the reporting of cattle carcass weights, and requiring a packer to report the number of cattle scheduled to be delivered for slaughter each day for the next 14 days. The contract library would be permanently authorized and specify key details about the contents that must be included in the library like the duration of the contract and provisions in the contract that may impact price such as schedules, premiums and discounts, and transportation arrangements.

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