USDA to issue two new cattle market reports

The Agriculture Department announced today that beginning next week it will issue two new USDA Market News reports based on Livestock Mandatory Reporting data that it says will provide additional insight into formula cattle trades and help promote fair and competitive markets.

The first new report, the National Daily Direct Formula Base Cattle, which will be issued on Monday, will provide greater information into the foundational prices used in cattle market formulas, grids and contracts, USDA said.

The second report, the National Weekly Cattle Net Price Distribution, which will be issued Tuesday, will show the volume of cattle purchased at each different level of pricing within those formulas, grids, and contracts, USDA added.

“During the past five years, stresses and disruptions caused by concentration in livestock markets have hurt producers, workers, and consumers, and highlighted vulnerabilities in America’s food system supply chain resiliency,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in the news release.

“Current negotiated cash cattle trade is approximately 30 percent less than it was in 2005, while formula transactions have increased at the same rate. Our new reports on formula transactions will bring needed clarity to the marketplace.”

“Also, in the coming months, we plan to conduct several producer-focused outreach sessions to help producers and others understand how these data can inform real-world marketing decisions at farm, ranch, feedlot, and other points in the supply chain.”

USDA said the action is one piece of its efforts to deliver on President Biden’s executive order on promoting competition in the American economy, which directed USDA to, among other things, “enhance price discovery, increase transparency, and improve the functioning of the cattle and other livestock markets.”

U.S. Cattlemen’s Association President Brooke Miller noted that the group had sent Vilsack a letter urging the publication of more information.

“USCA appreciates the swift review and prompt follow-up of USDA Agricultural Marketing Service leadership and staff in response to USCA’s letter,” Miller said in a news release.

“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.”

R-CALF USA’s Bill Bullard said the udpates will be helpful to producers analyzing the prices being paid in the marketplace, but that “they will not correct the lack of competition plaguing the entire live cattle industry.”

“The solution is to force the packers to once again compete in the marketplace and the bipartisan legislation introduced in Congress by Senators Chuck Grassley and Jon Tester, S.949, is the quickest and most effective way of doing that,” Bullard commented.

–The Hagstrom Report with TSLN staff additions

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