WASHINGTON — US Representative Dusty Johnson (R-SD) and other house members introduced the latest bill to increase transparency in the cattle market, improve risk management and support new and expanding meat processors.
The Price Reform in Cattle Economics (PRICE) Act was produced after the US Department of Agriculture released the Box Beef & Fed Cattle Price Spread Investigation Report. The investigation identified issues within the cattle market including evidence of fraud in the wake of the fire at Tyson Food Inc.’s Holcomb, Kan., beef processing plant in 2019.
“Cattle country is hurting and has not fully recovered,” Johnson said. “USDA laid out several areas where Congress can implement real solutions to improve the market – the PRICE Act is the answer to many of the issues our ranchers have faced for years. Our producers want a fair market and fair prices and that’s what this bill delivers. Congress needs to deliver for cattle country.”
According to Johnson, the PRICE Act provides greater price reporting, transparency and risk management solutions. The congressman also said it bolsters small processor and producer-owned cooperative processing opportunities and updates the Packer Stockyards Act to create a cattle contract library.
After releasing the bill proposal, the United States Cattlemen’s Association (USCA) expressed its approval of its industry’s specifics.
“The provisions laid out in the PRICE Act provide a solid foundation with which to build out a Livestock Title in the next farm bill,” said Justin Tupper, vice president of USCA. “Both the 2018 and 2014 Farm Bills failed to include a specific title for livestock, instead dumping those programs into the ‘miscellaneous’ bin. The sections included within the PRICE Act offer a solid base with which to begin constructing a clear, concise, and dedicated section within the framework of the largest agriculture-related legislation to bolster the livestock sector.”
The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) also expressed its support for the bill.
“The Tyson fire in Holcomb, Kan., and the supply chain disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have brought the issues of price transparency in the cattle markets and beef processing capacity to a boiling point within our industry,” said Ethan Lane, NCBA’s vice president of government affairs. “This legislation is a significant step in the right direction as we continue to explore ways to support producers who have been impacted by two major black swan events, in an already volatile cattle market.”