WASHINGTON – The House Agriculture Committee is being applauded by the National Pork Producers Council for approving legislation to reauthorize the law requiring meat packers to report to the U.S. Department of Agriculture the prices they pay producers for animals.

Sponsored by panel Chairman Collin Peterson, (D-Minn.), H.R. 5852 was passed by the committee; it reauthorizes the Livestock Mandatory Reporting Act for five years, which is set to expire Sept. 30. The committee bill also adds to the reporting law provisions requiring reporting of pork exports – by price and volume – and of wholesale pork cuts.

“We are very pleased the Agriculture Committee approved legislation reauthorizing the mandatory price reporting law,” said Sam Carney, N.P.P.C. president and pork producer from Adair, Iowa. “The addition of export and wholesale cuts reporting will further help producers like me make business and production decisions.”

Sponsored by Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Blanche Lincoln, (D-Ark.), and Ranking Member Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), companion Senate legislation was introduced July 27.

“The Livestock Mandatory Reporting Act is what provides transparency and certainty in the livestock markets and allows competition to thrive,” Mr. Carney said, “not regulations restricting how I market my hogs and dictating how markets will work” – a reference to a proposed U.S.D.A. rule on the buying and selling of livestock and poultry.”

N.P.P.C. relays the proposal to amend the Packers and Stockyards Act has been roundly criticized, and U.S.D.A. was excoriated by lawmakers for writing a rule – with no input from the affected industries – that goes beyond what Congress mandated in the 2008 Farm Bill.

The last time the price reporting law was reauthorized – in September 2006, three enhancements to the pork reporting provisions were added. NPPC said they:
• Added more sows to the pricing reports to more accurately reflect the sales and prices paid in the sow market.
• Changed the timing for data reporting to help U.S.D.A. with its workload and increase report accuracy and efficiency.
• Allowed U.S.D.A. to publish price distributions for net prices to provide more useful information.