WASHINGTON – On Aug. 5, the U.S. Senate reauthorized by unanimous consent the Livestock Mandatory Price Reporting Act (L.M.P.R.), which was set to expire Sept. 30. The reauthorization will continue to encourage transparency in the marketplace, said Colin Woodall, vice president of government affairs for the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (N.C.B.A.). Beef producers have come to rely on the information provided by the L.M.P.R. to aid in their negotiation of sales prices for cattle and meat products, he added.

"This mandatory reporting provides U.S. producers with readily understandable and timely information regarding pricing, contracting for purchase, and supply and demand conditions for all segments of the beef industry," Woodall said, adding that N.C.B.A. was part of an industry coalition urging Congress to reauthorize L.M.P.R. "Along with transparency, L.M.P.R. encourages competition, without violating producers’ privacy, in the marketplace by substantially increasing the volume of industry sales transactions reported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture."

L.M.P.R. was signed into law by President Clinton as part of the 2000 Agricultural Appropriations Bill. Prior to 2001, information was collected by observing public auction markets and via voluntary submission by market participants. By 1999, however, many producers had noticed fundamental changes in the market structure. About 35% of fed cattle sales in 1999 occurred via contract agreements that were not covered by U.S.D.A. reports.

These unreported transactions hampered producers' ability to accurately assess livestock prices, negotiate with packers or obtain a fair price when selling their livestock, said Bruce Hafenfeld, California cattle producer and N.C.B.A.’s policy division chair. He added L.M.P.R. augments producers’ knowledge base when making marketing decisions by providing them with pricing and sales information from transactions around the country.

“As a producer of food and fiber for a growing global population, I appreciate the Senate's efforts to help continue the availability of timely and accurate information for U.S. cattle producers,” he said. “By reauthorizing mandatory price reporting, cattle producers will continue to have access to daily price and volume information on purchases of cattle and boxed beef sales as well as export and import data. This effort to enhance transparency in the marketplace is a definite win for every aspect of the industry.”

L.M.P.R. now needs approval from the U.S. House of Representatives, Woodall said. N.C.B.A. will continue to urge the House to reauthorize LMPR before it expires next month, he concluded.