Cattle groups disagree on new legislation that would reshape U.S. cattle markets
Legislation is expected to be introduced in Congress next week that would significantly reform the structure of the U.S. cattle markets
“This is the silver bullet.”
R-CALF CEO Bill Bullard tells Brownfield the bill would make comprehensive changes to all aspects of the market, and it starts with prohibiting packers from entering into formula contracts. “It addresses the single most, dangerous threat to the competitiveness of the industry and the is the use of these unpriced contacts that give the packers the ability to leverage down domestic cattle prices.”
Senator Cory Booker, a Democrat from New Jersey, and Representative Ro Khanna, a Democrat from California, announced the Protecting America’s Meatpacking Workers Act of 2021 on Monday.
But, Ethan Lane with the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association tells Brownfield “To craft something like this with vegan members of Congress that don’t even agree that cattle production should exist and slap it together and put it out the door as some kind of silver bullet solution is not something we can take seriously at this point as an industry.”
The act would also:
•Bans the nation’s largest packers from owning and feeding cattle more than 7 days before slaughter.
•Requires each plant owned by the largest packers to purchase at least 50% of their cattle needs from the competitive cash market each day and to slaughter those cattle within 7 days.
•Prohibits any conduct by the packers that adversely affects competition regardless of any business justification claimed by the packers.
•Clarifies that a showing of harm to competition is not necessary for producers to protect themselves from anticompetitive conduct by the packers.
•Restores mandatory country of origin labeling (MCOOL) for beef and pork and adds dairy products.
•Empowers producers to defend the competitiveness of their industry by authorizing the recovery of attorney fees in successful cases filed under the Packers and Stockyards Act.