The Cattle Price Discovery Act was reintroduced to the 118th Congress last week by a bipartisan group of Senators. The reintroduced bill is similar to the legislation introduced last March, encouraging transparency and accountability in the cattle market.
The bill would establish minimum levels of fed cattle purchases made through approved pricing mechanisms, which include negotiated cash, negotiated grid, at a stockyard, and through trading systems that multiple buyers and sellers regularly can make and accept bids. The Secretary of Agriculture would be responsible for establishing five to seven regions encompassing the continental U.S.
“The U.S. cattle industry is cyclical by nature — there are ‘up’ years and ‘down’ years. But for producers, those up years come far too few and in between the down years due to an increasingly consolidated industry. Restoring fair and competitive market practices is essential to leveling the playing field for U.S. producers.
The bill also includes provisions to create a cattle contract library, mandating box beef reporting to ensure transparency, expedite the reporting of cattle carcass weights, and require a packer to report the number of cattle scheduled to be delivered for slaughter each day for the next 14 days. The USDA launched its pilot Cattle Contracts Library on Jan. 31.
“This bill gives producers access to valuable information that can help them make better — and more profitable — marketing decisions. USCA applauds Senators Fischer, Tester, Grassley, and Wyden for their commitment to this historic legislation. We welcome the reintroduction of the Cattle Price Discovery and Transparency Act in the 118th Session of Congress and look forward to advancing this bill to the President’s desk.”
The bill would also establish a maximum penalty of $90,000 for mandatory minimum violations for covered packers, defined as those who during the immediately preceding five years have slaughtered five percent or more of the number of fed cattle nationally.
Sens. Deb Fischer (R-NE), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Jon Tester (D-MT), and Ron Wyden (D-OR) reintroduced the Cattle Price Discovery and Transparency Act. Eleven of the cosponsors are members of the Senate Agriculture Committee.