Bill Would Add Transparency to Cattle Markets

Farm Bureau is supporting legislation in Congress that would enact a series of changes aimed at improving transparency in cattle markets.

The Cattle Market Transparency Act of 2021 was introduced in the U.S. Senate in early March. The measure would establish regional mandatory minimum levels of negotiated trade and establish new reporting requirements.

The bill’s approach is in line with the recommendations made by Farm Bureau’s Cattle Market Working Group, which developed several goals for improving cattle markets after the COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with fire at a Kansas beef-packing plant, disrupted cattle markets.

“When the pandemic hit, meat prices at grocery stores went up while the prices paid to farmers fell through the floor,” American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall said. “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.”

(Read an analysis of the bill from Farm Bureau Market Intel)

Specifically, the bill would require the U.S. Department of Agriculture to create and maintain a library of marketing contracts offered by packers to producers, giving producers better information about pricing when going into negotiations. It would also require daily reporting from packers on forecasted slaughter numbers and set minimums, based on region, for the share of cattle transactions that must be negotiated,