An updated version of the Cattle Price Discovery and Transparency Act has been introduced in the U.S. Senate.
The updated bipartisan bill would:
- Require the Secretary of Agriculture to establish 5-7 regions encompassing the entire continental U.S. and then establish minimum levels of fed cattle purchases made through approved pricing mechanisms. Approved pricing mechanisms are fed cattle purchases made through negotiated cash, negotiated grid, at a stockyard and through trading systems that multiple buyers and sellers regularly can make and accept bids. These pricing mechanisms will ensure robust price discovery and are transparent.
- Establish a maximum penalty for covered packers of $90,000 for mandatory minimum violations. Covered packers are defined as those packers that during the immediately preceding five years have slaughtered five percent or more of the number of fed cattle nationally.
- The bill also includes provisions to create a publicly available library of marketing contracts, mandating boxed beef reporting to ensure transparency, expediting the reporting of cattle carcass weights and requiring a packer to report the number of cattle scheduled to be delivered for slaughter each day for the next 14 days. The contract library would be permanently authorized and specify key details about the contents that must be included in the library – like the duration and other provisions in the contract that may impact price such as schedules, premiums, discounts and transportation arrangements.
The update keeps the cash trade mandates included in the previous version of the bill.
First introduced in Nov. 2021, Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Jodi Ernst (R-IA), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Jon Tester (D-MT) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) introduced the updated legislation.
The bill is also supported by Indiana Senator Mike Braun.
In a press release, Sen. Grassley says the bill would “return fairness to the cattle marketplace dominated by four major meat packers.”
“[The] USCA stands with county, state, and national producer associations across the U.S. in supporting mandatory cash trade minimums,” Says U.S. Cattlemen’s Association President Brooke Miller says,
National Farmers Union President Rob Larew says the legislation “would shed light on the market and bring about greater fairness.”