WASHINGTON – Four US senators renewed their call for transparency in cattle markets in a recent version of the Cattle Price Discovery and Transparency Act.
The updated bipartisan legislation would establish five to seven regions in the continental United States where minimum levels of fed cattle purchases would be made through approved pricing mechanisms.
A possible maximum penalty for not following the proposed law would be $90,000 for mandatory minimum violations for covered packers. The senators defined covered packers who slaughtered 5% or more of the fed cattle nationally in the preceding five years.
Legislation also plans to create a publicly available library for marketing contracts in the beef industry.
US Senators Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) are leading the bill.
“Our family farmers and ranchers have told us about the need for both robust price discovery and transparency in the cattle markets,” Fischer said. “The updates to our legislation incorporate a variety of stakeholder feedback to achieve our goal of ensuring more fairness in cattle markets. It’s encouraging to see our bill gain momentum and I am hopeful we will have a hearing on this important legislation in the Senate Agriculture Committee in the coming weeks.”
Senator Grassley said that this latest proposal came following months of working with the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) staff on technical changes that allow the best implementation.
“Increasing price discovery will give producers more control and better information when they sell their livestock and is a key step in making markets more competitive,” Senator Tester said.
Senator Wyden added that the bill shows how both parties can come together to level the playing field by restoring market fairness, efficiency and transparency.
The US Cattlemen’s Association (USCA) also shared its initial thoughts on the proposed bill.
“USCA looks forward to reviewing the updated legislation and providing our feedback in the days ahead,” said Brooke Miller, president of the USCA. “We are hopeful that the proposed changes will strengthen the intent of the bill’s authors in establishing a fair cattle marketplace but must thoroughly review the language first.”