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Cattle Contract Library Act introduced as push for market transparency continues

A bipartisan bill to establish a cattle contract library has been introduced in the US House of Representatives. 

Ethan Lane, vice-president of government relations with the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association says the bill would equip cattle producers with the market data to increase leverage in negotiations with major meatpackers.  “The contract library is one way to illustrate to the industry, and to participants who aren’t using these kinds of transactions just what kind of deals are out there,” he says.  “What’s available and what’s possible in your negotiations with the packers when you’re marketing your cattle.”

The bill was introduced by Representatives Dusty Johnson of South Dakota and Henry Cuellar of Texas. Lane says supporting this bill is a no-brainer.  “For cattle country and members of Congress up on the Hill who are trying to do something to help producers with the price environment we’ve had over the past couple of years and some of those challenges,” he says. 

He tells Brownfield while the Contract Library is a step in the right direction, it’s not a silver-bullet fix.  “No one piece of this, whether it’s price discovery, or it’s a cattle contract library, or plant expansion, or improved labeling, will fix this market on its own,” he says.  “We’re going to have to take an all-hands-on-deck approach, and we’re going to have to tackle all of these issues at once to improve this environment.”

The bill is on the House Agriculture Committee’s schedule for Thursday and Lane says NCBA expects movement on it this week.  He says companion legislation will need to move through the Senate as well. 

AUDIO: Ethan Lane, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association

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