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Work continues to address competition in the cattle markets

Congress continues its work on addressing competition in the cattle markets and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association says the conversation is centering more around increasing price transparency. 

Ethan Lane is vice president of government affairs.  “There’s talk of contract libraries, some of those tools that I think everyone in the industry is in agreement on,” he says.  “That seems to be an area Senators are identifying that there is a lot of unanimity of thought on.  That’s good news and that’s something we’re going to continue to push on.” Both the Senate and House held hearings last week. 

He tells Brownfield there has been more talk of merging the bills from Nebraska Senator Deb Fischer and Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley.  “The Grassley bill just has limited appeal,” he says.  “That’s a big number.  That 50% is a big number for a lot of cattle producers around the country that are trading in markets that have a much smaller cash footprint.” Lane says their state affiliates are divided about mandating a percentage of cash trade, and as they head into the Cattle Industry Convention next week – it will likely be a hotly discussed topic.

And while the conversation in the Senate is focused on increasing price transparency, Lane says the hearing in the House Ag subcommittee took a much different direction.  “Their panel was all economists,” he says.  “And those economists were echoing some of the same concerns we have heard from the economic community throughout this process.  They are always wary of things that are going to intervene in the market’s ability to move freely.”

Lane spoke to Brownfield ahead of the Tennessee Cattlemen’s state convention.

AUDIO: Ethan Lane, NCBA

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