USDA Will Begin Issuing New Market Reports Following USCA Request for Greater Transparency

herd of cattle
Herd of grazing cows (True Life Photography / Shutterstock)

Press Release Provided by the US Cattlemen’s Association

On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that beginning Monday, August 9, 2021, it will issue two new Market News reports based on Livestock Mandatory Reporting (LMR) data. The news follows a letter the United States Cattlemen’s Association (USCA) sent to USDA on July 13, 2021 requesting the publication of additional data collected under the LMR program that would provide important insights into the cattle marketplace.

Specifically, these two new reports will include the following information:

The National Daily Direct Formula Base Cattle reports will enable stakeholders to see the correlation between the negotiated trade and reported formula base prices, as well as the aggregated values being paid as premiums and discounts. Daily formula base price reports will be national in scope and released in morning, summary and afternoon versions. The weekly and monthly formula base reports will be both national and regional in scope and include forward contract base purchase information. 

The National Weekly Cattle Net Price Distribution report will show at what levels (price and volume) trade occurred across the weekly weighted average price for each purchase type – negotiated, negotiated grid, formula and forward contract. Currently, the market speculates whether large or small volumes of cattle trade on both sides of the price spread. And in fact, with premiums and discounts applied to the prices, the spreads shown on reports can be wide. Publishing a price distribution for all cattle net prices will offer more transparency to each of the purchase type categories. This report is a window into what producers are paid for cattle (net) and retains confidentiality by segregating volumes purchased in $2.00 increments +/- the daily weighted average price depending upon premiums and discounts. AMS has published a similar net price distribution report for direct hogs since January 2010.

USCA President Brooke Miller issued the following statement:

“USCA appreciates the swift review and prompt follow-up of USDA Agricultural Marketing Service leadership and staff in response to USCA’s letter. The publication of this additional market information helps to fulfill part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s efforts to Promote Competition in the American Economy, as outlined in the most recent Executive Order.

“USCA looks forward to working with USDA leadership to continue identifying areas where we can work towards the goal of fair and competitive markets.”