The American Farm Bureau Federation is calling on lawmakers to require increased transparency in America’s cattle markets.

AFBF supports the Cattle Market Transparency Act of 2021, sponsored by Sens. Deb Fischer, R-Neb., and Ron Wyden, D-Ore. The bill focuses on ensuring robust regionally negotiated cash trade and providing producers with more pricing information.

The legislation, among other things, would:

  • Establish regional mandatory minimum thresholds of negotiated cash and negotiated grid trades to enable price discovery in cattle marketing regions. It will require the Secretary of Agriculture in consultation with the Chief Economist, to establish regionally sufficient levels of negotiated cash and negotiated grid trade, seek public comment on those levels, then implement.
  • Require USDA to create and maintain a publicly available library of marketing contracts between packers and producers in a manner that ensures confidentiality.
  • Prohibit the USDA from using confidentiality as a justification for not reporting and makes clear that USDA must report all LMR information, and they must do so in a manner that ensures confidentiality.
  • Mandate that a packer report to USDA the number of cattle scheduled to be delivered for slaughter each day for the next 14 days and require USDA to report this information on a daily basis.

The Cattle Market Transparency Act aligns with the goals set forth by the AFBF Cattle Market Working Group in 2020, as well as new cattle marketing policy passed at Farm Bureau’s Virtual Annual Convention earlier this year.

The Cattle Market Working Group, comprised of 10 state Farm Bureau presidents, spent more than two months investigating factors that led to market disruptions following the Holcomb packing plant fire and the COVID-19 pandemic.

“America’s ranchers don’t control the prices they are paid for their products and those raising livestock have legitimate questions about pricing," said AFBF President Zippy Duvall. "When the pandemic hit, meat prices at grocery stores went up while the prices paid to farmers fell through the floor. This legislation will ensure farmers and ranchers have fair access to markets and are fully informed on pricing so they can continue to put food on the table in homes across the country. “We appreciate Senator Fischer and Senator Wyden for introducing the Cattle Market Transparency Act of 2021 and look forward to working with members of the House on a companion bill introduction.”