The Cattle Market Transparency Act of 2021 was introduced in the U.S. Senate. If enacted, the legislation would direct the Secretary of Agriculture and the Office of the Chief Economist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to establish regional mandatory minimums for negotiated trade of fed cattle.
The act, introduced by Senator Deb Fischer of Nebraska, would also direct USDA to establish a library of cattle formula contracts, amend the definition of “cattle committed” to expand the delivery window from seven to 14 days, and clarify confidentiality rules for administering Livestock Mandatory Reporting (LMR).
In a release, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) Vice President of Government Affairs Ethan Lane said, “Leveling the playing field and putting more of the beef dollar in producer pockets remains the top priority of this association. NCBA shares Senator Fischer’s objectives, as do its affiliates and indeed the entire industry. The best way to achieve those objectives, however, continues to be hotly debated by the very cattle producers this legislation would directly impact.”
USDA currently reports the number of cattle committed to meatpackers in seven-day increments, and NCBA notes that expanding this to 14 days will help producers better anticipate packer needs for cattle and increase their leverage as prices are negotiated.
The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) is also calling on lawmakers to require increased transparency in America’s cattle markets, as they support the Cattle Market Transparency Act of 2021
In a release, AFBF President Zippy Duvall said “America’s ranchers don’t control the prices they are paid for their products and those raising livestock have legitimate questions about pricing. When the pandemic hit, meat prices at grocery stores went up while the prices paid to farmers fell through the floor. This legislation will ensure farmers and ranchers have fair access to markets and are fully informed on pricing so they can continue to put food on the table in homes across the country.”