Republican Senators Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Deb Fischer of Nebraska joined Democrats Jon Tester of Montana and Ron Wyden of Oregon in announcing the Cattle Price Discovery and Transparency Act. The compromise cattle market bill is part of Grassley’s work to return fairness to the cattle marketplace dominated by four major meatpackers. “I frequently hear from independent cattle producers struggling to get a fair price for their cattle while the nation’s four largest packers operate in the shadows,” Grassley says. “The bill takes several steps to improve cattle price transparency and will improve market conditions for independent producers across the country.” The Senators plan to introduce the act in the coming days. Among the many changes it will make, the legislation will establish regional mandatory minimum thresholds of negotiated cash and negotiated grid trades based on each region’s 18-month average trade to enable price discovery. It would also require the USDA to create and maintain a publicly-available library of marketing contracts between packers and producers in a manner that ensures confidentiality. The proposal is endorsed by a number of state and national organizations, including the American Farm Bureau, the National Farmers Union, and many others.
The National Association of Farm Broadcasting and the American Farm Bureau Federation contributed to this report.