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Agreement Reached on Cattle Market Reform Legislation

black angus cattle
Black Angus cattle (Photo by J. Andrew Patronik / Shutterstock)

Press Release Provided by United States Cattlemen’s Association

On November 9th, U.S. Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Jon Tester (D-MT), and Ron Wyden (D-OR) introduced the Cattle Price Discovery and Transparency Act.

Specifically, this legislation accomplishes the following:

Requires the Secretary of Agriculture, in consultation with the USDA Chief Economist, to establish mandatory levels of negotiated cash and negotiated grid trade for each USDA AMS designated cattle region, seek public comment on those levels, then implement. Under this new program, covered packers—on a plant by plant basis—will be required to procure a certain amount of cattle from the cash market.

Allows USDA to periodically modify regional minimums after a public notice and comment period.

Mandates that regional mandatory minimums proposed by USDA be not less than the current 18-month average for each region except in the case a region’s mandatory minimum exceeds 3 times that of the lowest regional mandatory minimum.

To ensure that no region disproportionately shoulders the responsibility of price discovery, this legislation prohibits any region’s mandatory minimum from being 3 times that of the lowest region’s mandatory minimum.

Requires a cost benefit analysis after 2 years to ensure the program is working as intended.

USCA Region VII (Nebraska & Iowa) Director Lee Reichmuth issued the following statement:

“The Cattle Price Discovery and Transparency Act will deliver on its promise to restore robust price discovery and provide market participants with the information they need to make savvy marketing decisions. It also mandates that every packer required to report to USDA AMS is also required to participate in the cash market each week.

“We commend Senators Fischer, Grassley, Tester, and Wyden for coming together on a bipartisan solution that has broad support from both lawmakers and producer groups. Reforming the cattle marketplace to drive transparency and true price discovery is a core tenet of how we can strengthen the U.S. cattle producer’s bottom line, and we look forward to working with Members of the Senate and House Agriculture Committees to quickly advance this bill.”