South Dakota’s Dusty Johnson introduces Cattle Contract Library legislation

Washington, D.C. – This week, 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) to provide more transparency in the market. Tomorrow, October 21, the House Agriculture Committee will host a markup on this legislation.

Industry leaders and Members of Congress representing cattle country issued statements in support of the Cattle Contract Library Act of 2021:

“For far too long, farmers and ranchers have operated under uncertainty in the beef markets, forced to accept rock bottom payments while the cost of beef goes up at the grocery store,” said American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall. “The Cattle Contract Library Act of 2021 would provide critical information regarding how cattle are contracted and sold. We appreciate Congressman Dusty Johnson for working to provide tools to America’s farmers and ranchers as they ensure healthy, affordable beef is on dinner tables across the country.”

“Greater competition, price discovery, and transparency are desperately needed in cattle markets,” said Rob Larew, President of National Farmers Union (NFU). “NFU thanks Representative Johnson for introducing a bill that will direct USDA to establish a contract library for the cattle industry. This is an important tool that will help producers negotiate more favorable terms for their cattle. Instituting this new policy will be a helpful step in bringing greater fairness and competition to cattle markets.”

“The Livestock Marketing Association strongly supports the creation of a cattle contract library and appreciates the leadership of Representative Dusty Johnson in introducing this legislation,” said LMA President Larry Schnell of Dickinson, N.D. “This is a key way to add more information to the marketplace which will benefit producers of all sizes as they make their individual arrangements.”

“I’m proud to have cosponsored this bipartisan legislation to create a Cattle Contract Library within the USDA; this program would be a step in the right direct to improve the state of the fed cattle market,” said Congresswoman Ashley Hinson (IA-01). “Iowa producers need increased price transparency and a cash mandate to operate in a truly competitive market. I am glad this bill will support continued work on major cattle market reforms.”

“Providing updated data is an important part of ensuring our ranchers have more tools at their disposal,” said Congressman Kelly Armstrong (N.D. – At Large). “I support Congressman Johnson’s bill that improves transparency in the beef supply chain and gives more leverage to North Dakota’s cattle producers.”

“As the cattle market recovers from several disruptions over the past few years, efforts such as the Cattle Contract Library Act can provide a much-needed tool in helping cattle producers make informed decisions and survive the volatility across today’s industry,” said Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler (MO-04). “I have met with several producers across Missouri discussing transparency and additional resources for our producers. This led to the introduction of my Optimizing the Cattle Market Act, that also includes similar tools. I thank Rep. Dusty Johnson for digging deeper into this important concept.”

“Last year, following the market strains caused by Tyson’s Holcomb fire and the COVID-19 pandemic, USDA released an analysis of beef market conditions. Both anomalies highlighted the vulnerabilities that plague both the beef supply chain and the American food supply chain. Congress and stakeholders have long been discussing needed reforms to ensure fair competition and price discovery in agriculture markets- and more recently solutions to the various policy recommendations framed by USDA in their Boxed Beef and Fed Cattle Price Spread Investigation report. In order for ranchers to have a truly transparent, market-driven economy, cattlemen and women must be able to leverage marketing data while negotiating the price of cattle,” said Congressman Frank Lucas (OK-03). “While USDA currently collects livestock and meat price data, producers are being left in the dark as to the contract terms being offered by packers as alternative marketing arrangements continue to grow in popularity. The Cattle Contract Library Act and the creation of a cattle contract library is an important step forward in working to cultivate a fair and transparent finished cattle marketing system. I thank my friend and colleague, Congressman Dusty Johnson, for his work addressing the disparities faced by America’s hard-working producers, and I look forward to continuing to work with my fellow cattle ranchers as we ensure a fair beef market, benefitting both producers and consumers.”

“I am glad to introduce the bipartisan Cattle Contract Library Act today to provide support for Nebraska’s cattle industry,” said Congressman Adrian Smith (NE-03). “Establishing a library for cattle contracts, similar to the pork contract library already in effect, will enhance transparency and leverage opportunities for the small producers who are critical to feeding the nation.”

“The cattle contract library is a simple step towards more fairness, transparency, and healthy competition in the cattle market,” said Congressman Tracey Mann (KS-01). “It will benefit producers and packers alike, as it will help ensure that all market participants are both paying and receiving a fair price for their goods. The cattle contract library sends a clear message to ranchers, farmers, and livestock producers across this country that their voices are being heard in Washington, D.C.”

“I am proud to join this bipartisan group on this legislation to establish a cattle contract library,” said Congresswoman Michelle Fischbach (MN-07). “This will provide cattle producers in my district with important industry data and promote greater price discovery, helping ranchers better negotiate higher prices for their product.”

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