Wednesday, Ranking Member of the Livestock & Foreign Agriculture Subcommittee Dusty Johnson (R-S.D) and Representative Henry Cuellar (D-TX-28) introduced the bipartisan Cattle Contract Library Act of 2021 (H.R. 5609), which would create a library for cattle contracts within the USDA’s Agriculture Marketing Service.
Currently, USDA maintains a pork contract library, and following significant volatility in the cattle market and the release of the July 2020 Boxed Beef & Fed Cattle Price Spread Investigation Report, the creation of a library was recommended by experts and stakeholders. So sweeping cattle reform legislation was introduced to provide more transparency in the market, including the creation of a contract library.
National Cattleman’s Beef Association Vice President and South Dakota Rancher Todd Wilkinson said, “After months of record-breaking drought and volatile markets, ranchers across the country are struggling to get by. We need to act,” he said. “The cattle contract library is a popular and necessary element of the broader push to bring relief to cattle producers. It would equip our producers with the data they need to make competitive marketing decisions and exert leverage in negotiations with the packers, and it would also serve as an oversight tool.”
U.S. Cattlemen’s Association Vice President Justin Tupper said, “The U.S. Cattlemen’s Association would like to thank Rep. Dusty Johnson and his team for continuing to push forward with meaningful changes to the Livestock Mandatory Reporting (LMR) program that will increase transparency in the cattle marketplace. A cattle contract library is sorely needed, and this bill is one step closer to bringing that concept to fruition.”
The Cattle Contract Library Act is cosponsored by Reps. Tracey Mann (R-KS-01), Frank Lucas (R-OK-03), Rick Allen (R-GA-12), Ashley Hinson (R-IA-01), Kelly Armstrong (N.D.-AL), Jason Smith (R-MO-08), Trent Kelly (R-MS-01),Michelle Fischbach (R-MN-07),Angie Craig (D-MN-02), Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-IA-02), Jim Hagedorn (R-MN-01),David Rouzer (R-NC-07),Vicky Hartzler (R-MO-04), Adrian Smith (R-NE-3),Abigail Spanberger (D-VA-07),and Darren Soto (D-FL-09).
The Act is supported by the American Farm Bureau Federation, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, U.S. Cattlemen’s Association, National Farmers Union and the Livestock Marketing Association.