The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) submitted a Report to Congress that reviews the Livestock Mandatory Reporting (LMR) Program and includes feedback from a broad range of stakeholders. The program gets its authority through the LMR Act of 1999, which must be reauthorized by Congress every five years, and the most recent reauthorization was in 2015.
“From the small producer looking to market a few head of cattle to the large packer managing risk exposure, LMR provides critical market intelligence,” said Greg Ibach, Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs. “This review provided an opportunity for the best minds of the livestock and meat sectors to come together to improve and expand on this great service.”
Consistent with the Agriculture Reauthorizations Act of 2015, AMS worked with USDA’s Office of the Chief Economist and a diverse group of stakeholders to study the marketing methods and challenges with reporting livestock and meat markets to help identify program improvements and promote an orderly reauthorization of LMR in 2020.
Through a series of stakeholder meetings, AMS identified, and in many cases implemented, various recommendations to strengthen the program and provide industry with more meaningful data. Information gathered from these meetings and from several studies is the basis for the Report to Congress to inform the next reauthorization.
AMS strives to continually meet the data needs of stakeholders. Given this collaboration, stakeholders identified a small number of legislative changes to the program. The most pressing issue identified by the livestock and meat industry is how to access the most data while ensuring the confidentiality of proprietary transactions and market participants. Due to industry consolidation, confidentiality requirements have limited some of the information AMS can publish, a particularly critical issue for the lamb industry. Another common theme expressed by the cattle and swine industries was the ongoing concern about the thinness of the negotiated market. Negotiated trade has been rapidly replaced by formula pricing, forward markets, and longer-term marketing agreements.
For LMR to remain an effective tool, AMS and industry, in concert with Congressional direction, must continually assess new market developments to determine the best ways to improve market reporting. AMS remains committed to responding dynamically to industry needs by addressing critical market reporting issues while providing market transparency and preserving the confidentiality of market participants.