Fed Cattle Exchange suspends auctions

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Fed Cattle Exchange suspended operations after only four sessions of cattle auctions. A notice on the company’s website said the exchange would not be hosting auctions “for an indefinite period of time.”

“We encountered some technology obstacles that were in part, due to our attempt to quickly address a long recognized need of cattle producers,” the notice stated. “We have also received valuable input from buyers, sellers and registered sellers that have not yet sold through the Exchange, which we will be sorting through and implementing.”

A Reuters report said leading meatpackers Tyson Foods Inc., Cargill, JBS USA and National Beef Packing Co. all bought cattle on the exchange.

The shutdown is a setback for cattle producers and buyers who wanted another option for buying and selling cattle. The pricing system has come under scrutiny due to diminished transparency in the cash cattle market.  In April, the US Senate Committee on the Judiciary asked the Government Accountability Office to launch an investigation into cattle pricing after producer groups complained about a sudden drop in cattle prices in the third and fourth quarters of 2015.

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