Representative Dusty Johnson’s Cattle Contract Library Bill advances to House committee

Last week, the bill – the bipartisan Livestock Contract Library Act of 2021 (HR 5609) – passed unanimously by the House Agriculture Committee, becoming the first bill on livestock market transparency to come out of the Agriculture Committee since the USDA’s July 2020 Price Inquiry Report.

“Producers want action – they want more transparency in the livestock market – this bill is a step in the right direction,” Johnson said in a statement. “The Cattle Contract Library Act introduces greater transparency and competition for an industry that desperately needs it. I thank the farmers and ranchers for their critical contribution to achieving consensus and I am pleased that the committee has responded to this request. I will fight like hell to get this bill through the House.

At this stage, the breeders are not aware of the contractual conditions offered by the slaughterhouses, which leads to a decrease in the leverage effect for small producers during price negotiations. The bill requires the USDA to publicly report the total number of cattle that slaughterhouses have committed to them in six months and 12 months.

A number of national and South Dakota-focused farm groups have supported the measure, including the American Farm Bureau, the National Farmers Union, the Livestock Marketing Association, the United States and South Dakota Cattlemen’s Associations, and the South Dakota Farmers. Union.

“The US Cattlemen’s Association would like to thank Representative Dusty Johnson and his team for continuing to advance the significant changes to the Livestock Mandatory Reporting (LMR) program that will increase transparency in the livestock market,” said Justin, vice president of the US Cattlemen’s Association. Tupper, of St. Onge, South Dakota. “A library of livestock contracts is absolutely necessary, and this bill is one more step towards making that concept a reality. ”

“In meetings with ranchers and feeders across the state, it was agreed that we need transparency in the livestock market, including communicating the details of all livestock marketing agreements,” said the South Dakota Farm Bureau president Scott VanderWal in a statement. “The cattle contracts library is common sense and I hope we can get it removed from committee quickly and passed in the House. “

One notable exception is the Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund United Stockgrowers of America, or R-CALF USA. He said that it “determined (the bill) does not address the disruptive competitive leverage that highly concentrated beef packers now have in the cattle market and that new methods of supplying beef. cattle used today by the largest beef packers may fall outside the scope of the invoice. “

“The problem with our broken market is not that we don’t know the details of the contracts that give leverage to the packers, the problem is that there are too many contracts and because of that our discovery market price is being destroyed, “Iowa Cattle Feeder and group manager Eric Nelson said in a press release.

R-CALF USA has said it supports Bill 50/14, which is before the US Senate, which would increase volume in the price discovery market and reduce the volume of cattle under contract. This bill would require 50% of a meat packager’s weekly volume to be purchased on the open market or in cash, as well as a 14-day window for the delivery of livestock, hence the name 50/14. This bill is led by US Senators Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Jon Tester, D-Mont.

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