(JULY 1) – On Wednesday, the United States Cattlemen’s Association (USCA), National Farmers Union (NFU), and eleven other organizations sent a letter to the Senate Agriculture Committee requesting a hearing on livestock mandatory price reporting reauthorization.
The Livestock Mandatory Reporting rule, established in 1999, mandates price reporting for cattle, boxed beef swine, and lamb. It is reauthorized every five years, with the current program expiring on September 30, 2020. This year represents an opportunity to make meaningful change to the program to increase transparency and true price discovery.
According to a 2019 Congressional Research Service report, “A common concern among stakeholders is the low volume of negotiated purchases and a parallel trend toward increased formula purchases or other marketing arrangements.
“Other concerns are about confidentiality and a lack of clarity on how transactions are categorized in reports, with some stakeholders advocating for the inclusion of more details about transactions, such as premium levels—especially as the market changes—and reporting on the number of livestock committed to packers.”
USCA and others strongly urge the Senate Agriculture Committee to examine all available solutions to the current market factors depressing livestock prices and the increasing consolidation facing the U.S. cattle industry. As stated in our letter, we are running out of time to work towards a tenable reauthorization of the program. The U.S. livestock industry requires bold leadership to realign the marketplace with its fundamentals, and that starts with modernizing the Livestock Mandatory Reporting program.
Organizations signing-on to the letter include: Independent Beef Association of North Dakota, Independent Cattlemen’s Association of Nebraska, Independent Cattlemen’s Association of Texas, Kansas Cattlemen’s Association, Marias River Livestock Association, Montana Cattlemen’s Association, Montana Farmers Union, National Farmers Union, North Dakota Farmers Union, Rocky Mountain Farmers Union, South Dakota Farmers Union, and Women Involved in Farm Economics.
What is the 50/14 Effort?
In May, Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Jon Tester (D-MT) introduced S. 3693, a bill that would require a minimum of 50 percent of each packer processing plant’s weekly volume of beef slaughter to come as a result of purchases made on the open market or spot market, defined as those purchases which fall under Negotiated Purchase (Forward Contracts and Formula Marketing Agreement are not considered Negotiated Sales). USCA supports this bill.
How does this fit into Livestock Mandatory Reporting?
Here’s your quick, Schoolhouse Rock! version of what this all means: This particular bill (S. 3693) was intended for inclusion within the reauthorizing text of the Livestock Mandatory Reporting program. During the drafting of the bill that would reauthorize this program in the House and Senate Agriculture Committees, USCA will work with Congressional staffers to guarantee the inclusion of S. 3693.
This bill will not pass on a singular, full House or Senate vote by itself. The 116th Congress (which began on January 3, 2019) already has 13,449 bills and resolutions before it for consideration. Imagine if each of those were brought to the floor for an individual vote! There simply wouldn’t be enough time to consider all of them. S. 3693 needs to be attached to a ‘moving vehicle’, or a piece of legislation that is guaranteed to reach a full vote by the House and Senate. Mandatory Price Reporting is that ‘vehicle’ for S. 3693.
How can you help? Call your Member of Congress.
First, sign on to our letter. Since April 23, 2020, we’ve collected 4,428 signatures from producers interested in seeing this sort of legislation included within the Livestock Mandatory Reporting program. We need your signature to show broad support for this bill.
Second, if your Member of Congress serves on either the House or Senate Agriculture Committees, please make sure to reach out to them and ask for their support of the 50/14 effort. Dial the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and mention this letter requesting a Congressional hearing on this issue. We cannot stress this enough – real change happens when you pick up the phone and call Congress!
Still have questions?
Contact our Director of Policy & Outreach Lia Biondo at firstname.lastname@example.org or (202) 870-1552.