Senate Reauthorizes Mandatory Livestock Price Reporting

Randall Weiseman Alabama, Cattle, Florida, Georgia, Industry News Release, Livestock, Pork

Today, the U.S. Senate reauthorized Mandatory Livestock Price Reporting, which is set to expire on September 30, 2015. Here are releases from both the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and National Pork Producers Council concerning today’s action and what is next:

From the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association:

WASHINGTON (Sept. 22, 2015) – The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association appreciates the efforts of the Senate in reauthorizing Mandatory Livestock Price Reporting through 2020. NCBA President, Philip Ellis, a Wyoming cattle producer, said this information provides producers greater transparency in market conditions.

“Transparency is essential to the functioning of our livestock markets, and our ability as producers to make decisions critical to our profitability,” said Ellis. “We appreciate the Senate’s reauthorization of this provision before it expired at the end of the month. Unfortunately, due to the actions of Senator Stabenow, not only does this legislation lack the status of an essential service, the bill differs substantially from the House version; subjecting producers to further delay and uncertainty.”

Mandatory Price Reporting requires meat packers to report to USDA the prices they pay for cattle, hogs and sheep purchased from farmers and ranchers for slaughter, as well as the prices they receive for the sale of wholesale beef, pork and lamb. Mandatory Price Reporting also requires USDA to issue daily, weekly and monthly livestock and meat market reports.

“For American’s cattlemen and women, market transparency is not a luxury,” said Ellis. “Cattle markets are complex and ever-changing, and cattle producers like myself rely on the information provided by price reporting to make informed decisions. The actions of Senator Stabenow have ensured that cattle producers will not have access to this critical market information in the event of a government shutdown.”

In contrast to the House version, the Senate’s Mandatory Price Reporting legislation does not make the program an essential government service, rendering the program vulnerable to future government shutdowns. Due to these differences, the legislation now must be conferenced with the House, and signed by the President prior to expiration on Sept. 30, 2015.

From the National Pork Producers Council:

WASHINGTON, D.C., Sept. 22, 2015 – The National Pork Producers Council praised the Senate for its passage today of legislation reauthorizing the livestock mandatory price reporting law, which is set to expire Sept. 30.

The statute requires meat packers to report to the U.S. Department of Agriculture the prices they pay for cattle, hogs and lambs and other information. USDA publishes twice-daily reports with information on pricing, contracting for purchase, supply and demand conditions for livestock, livestock production and livestock products.

“America’s pork producers are grateful to the Senate for approving legislation to reauthorize the mandatory price reporting law, which provides them and meat packers transparent, accurate and timely market information to make knowledge-based business decisions about selling and buying hogs,” said NPPC President Dr. Ron Prestage, a veterinarian and pork producer from Camden, S.C.

Similar to legislation passed by the House in early June, the Senate’s five-year reauthorization measure includes new provisions sought by the U.S. pork industry, including one that establishes a “Negotiated-Formula” price category to better reflect the total number of hogs negotiated each day regardless of how buyers and sellers arrive at the prices. Another provision will require that pigs sold after 1:30 p.m. be included in the next morning’s price report.

“Now we need both houses to work out some minor difference in their bills and get this thing to the president’s desk before the law expires at the end of the month,” added Prestage. “Livestock producers are dependent on these price reports for making informed decisions about transactions. We don’t want or need any disruptions in this vital service.”

The Livestock Mandatory Reporting Act of 1999 changed a voluntary reporting system for hogs, cattle and other livestock at slaughter to a requirement for meat processors to report detailed price and sales data. The law requires packers to submit to USDA regional and national data on a daily and weekly basis for hogs and similar information for cattle and lambs. It also required USDA to establish a library of the types of contracts offered by packers to pork producers for the purchase of hogs, including future delivery purchases.