Cattle market transparency bill introduced in House
U.S. Representatives Emanuel Cleaver and Vicky Hartzler, both from Missouri, have introduced legislation in the House that would increase transparency and price discovery within the cattle market.
The Optimizing the Cattle Market Act of 2021 would require the Secretary of Agriculture to establish regional negotiated cash and grid trade, mandate that packers report the number of cattle scheduled to be delivered two weeks in advance and create a contract library.
Hartzler tells Brownfield it’s ‘disconcerting’ that nearly all meat processing is controlled by four packers.
“We want to empower our cattlemen to have more information so that they can negotiate better prices,” she said. “Because it just doesn’t feel fair to have the packers reaping such great profits and yet our cattlemen [are] struggling here out in rural America.”
Hartzler said this bill has added provisions from legislation she sponsored last year like a cost-benefit analysis by USDA to determine if cattle producers are making more money and providing training for producers on how to use the contract library.
Missouri Farm Bureau President Garrett Hawkins says change is needed for cattle producers and this legislation pushes the discussion in Washington D.C.
“The introduction of this legislation that mirrors legislation that’s been introduced in the Senate is critical, absolutely critical, to getting members of Congress to really take notice and focus in on the issues facing those of us in the cattle industry,” he said.
Companion bipartisan legislation has been introduced in the Senate by Nebraska’s Deb Fischer and Oregon’s Ron Wyden.
The bipartisan legislation is endorsed by the American Farm Bureau Federation, Livestock Marketing Association, Missouri Cattlemen, and Missouri farm Bureau.