Continued Support for Fischer’s Updated Cattle Market Reform Bill
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Several national and Nebraska agriculture organizations have emphasized their support for U.S. Senator Deb Fischer’s (R-Neb.) updated Cattle Price Discovery and Transparency Act. Sen. Fischer, who is a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, introduced the new version of the bill this week with Sens. Grassley (R-Iowa), Tester (D-Mont.), and Wyden (D-Ore.).
“Thank you to Senators Fischer, Grassley, Tester, and Wyden for their relentless pursuit to advance legislation that strengthens the bottom line of the U.S. cattle producer. There has never been this much momentum for industry change, both in the countryside and in the Capitol. USCA stands with county, state, and national producer associations across the U.S. in supporting mandatory cash trade minimums – a concept that is also supported by the majority of Senate Agriculture Committee members…” said U.S. Cattlemen’s Association (USCA) President Brooke Miller.
“Rampant consolidation in the cattle industry has made pricing in the cattle market increasingly opaque. Fair cand competitive markets rely on price discovery and transparency. For farmers and ranchers to bargain effectively with packers, they need access to reliable, accurate pricing information. This bill would shed light on the market and bring about greater fairness. NFU thanks Senators Tester, Grassley, Fischer, and Wyden for their continued leadership on this issue. The bill improves upon the version from November 2021, and we encourage swift action by the Senate and House on this legislation,” said National Farmers Union (NFU) President Rob Larew.
“Nebraska Farm Bureau and the farm and ranch families we represent continue to thank Nebraska Senator Deb Fischer for her leadership in helping to provide needed reforms to Nebraska’s cattle industry. The complexities and controversies surrounding the way cattle are marketed within the United States cannot be understated. However, as with every issue she champions, Sen. Fischer remains steadfast in her commitment to do what’s right for farmers, ranchers, and all Nebraskans. NEFB remains committed to working with Senator Fischer to provide additional cattle market transparency and price discovery,” said Nebraska Farm Bureau (NEFB) President Mark McHargue.
“Nebraska Farmers Union (NeFU) strongly supports Senators Fischer, Grassley, Tester, and Wyden’s updated Cattle Market Reform Bill. This negotiated bipartisan bill represents an historic opportunity to substantially improve and reform beef markets. It will increase beef market competition, transparency, the volume of mandatory price reporting data, cash market sales, penalties for packer violations, and establishes a cattle contract library. NeFU supports all those critical beef market reform provisions. We strongly urge the Senate Ag Committee and Congress to take full advantage of the bipartisan momentum that exists to restore competition in beef markets. The current non-competitive system is systematically squeezing multi-generational family businesses out of business. We thank Senator Fischer for her hard work, tenacity, and leadership. Beef production is the largest source of farm income in Nebraska, and is critical to the future of our state,” said Nebraska Farmers Union (NeFU) President John Hansen.
“Price discovery is a public good. Negotiated market participants invest time and resources to discover fed cattle prices for their respective regions and the entire industry. Until price discovery participation is better valued at all points in the supply chain, live cattle market price negotiation will continue to decrease until there is little to no negotiated trade left and outside markets will have to be relied upon for price determination. We thank Senator Fischer for her continued work and dedication to identifying resolutions to this complicated issue,” said Nebraska Cattlemen President Brenda Masek.
The updated bill would:
Require the Secretary of Agriculture to establish 5-7 regions encompassing the entire continental U.S. and then establish minimum levels of fed cattle purchases made through approved pricing mechanisms. This does NOT change the Livestock Mandatory Reporting (LMR) reporting regions. Approved pricing mechanisms are fed cattle purchases made through negotiated cash, negotiated grid, at a stockyard, and through trading systems that multiple buyers and sellers regularly can make and accept bids. These pricing mechanisms will ensure robust price discovery and are transparent.
Establish a maximum penalty for covered packers of $90,000 for mandatory minimum violations. Covered packers are defined as those packers that during the immediately preceding five years have slaughtered five percent or more of the number of fed cattle nationally.
The bill also includes provisions to create a publicly available library of marketing contracts, mandating box beef reporting to ensure transparency, expediting the reporting of cattle carcass weights, and requiring a packer to report the number of cattle scheduled to be delivered for slaughter each day for the next 14 days. The contract library would be permanently authorized and specify key details about the contents that must be included in the library like the duration of the contract and provisions in the contract that may impact price such as schedules, premiums and discounts, and transportation arrangements.
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