WASHINGTON – The US Department of Agriculture plans to issue two new USDA Market News reports based on Livestock Mandatory Reporting data starting Aug. 9 that will provide further insight into formula cattle trades.
The announcement is part of President Joe Biden’s executive order issued in July aimed at promoting competition in heavily concentrated American industries.
The agency said the move was part of its other recent initiatives including a $500 million investment in meat processing capacity, new rulemaking for the Packers & Stockyards Act and a review of the “Product of USA” label.
“During the past five years, stresses and disruptions caused by concentration in livestock markets have hurt producers, workers, and consumers, and highlighted vulnerabilities in America’s food system supply chain resiliency,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “Current negotiated cash cattle trade is approximately 30% less than it was in 2005, while formula transactions have increased at the same rate. Our new reports on formula transactions will bring needed clarity to the marketplace.”
Vilsack added that in the next few months the USDA plans to conduct several producer-focused outreach sessions to understand how data can inform real-world marketing decisions throughout the supply chain.
On Aug. 9, the National Daily Direct Formula Base Cattle reports will give stakeholders a chance to see the correlation between negotiated trade and reported formula base prices. It will also show aggregated values being paid as premiums and discounts. Daily formula base price reports will be national in scope and released in morning, summary and afternoon versions.
In the National Weekly Cattle Net Price Distribution report on Aug. 10, data will show the volume of cattle purchased at each different level of pricing within formulas, grids and contracts.
Both reports will provide information into nearly 80% of the cattle market traded outside of the cash negotiated spot market, according to the USDA. The reports will be released under the USDA Market News and overseen by the Agricultural Marketing Service.
Following the USDA’s announcement, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) praised the decision by the agency as a step toward transparency.
“USDA’s announcement is a significant step toward increasing transparency in the cattle markets,” said Ethan Lane, vice president of government affairs at NCBA. “As Livestock Mandatory Reporting awaits congressional reauthorization, it is encouraging to see the Administration taking proactive steps to broaden the scope of this critical information tool. NCBA remains committed to maximizing market transparency and looks forward to building on this momentum to shed more light on the fed cattle trade.”