AMES, Iowa — The Iowa Cattlemen’s Association, alongside a coalition of 16 other state cattlemen organizations, sent letters to Senate Ag Committee Chair, Pat Roberts (R-KS), and House Ag Committee Chair, Collin Peterson (D-MN), requesting support for the Cattle Market Transparency Act of 2020 (S. 4647/H.R. 8557).
The Cattle Market Transparency Act of 2020, recently introduced by Sen. Deb Fischer (R-NE) and Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO), takes a nuanced approach to provide additional transparency and price discovery in cattle marketing. This legislation differs from the Grassley-Tester 50/14 bill (S. 3693/H.R. 7501) introduced by Iowa delegation, as it requires the Secretary of Agriculture to establish regionally sufficient levels of cash trade for robust price discovery. Additionally, the legislation creates a library of marketing contracts and requires packers to report the number of cattle scheduled to be delivered for slaughter each day for the next 14 days.
Balanced and consistent price discovery and transparency within the U.S. cattle market have continually been top priorities for the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association for well over a decade. These membership priorities have been heightened over the past year and have led to the development of potential solutions such as the Grassley-Tester 50/14 bill and others. The Iowa Cattlemen’s Association believes price discovery is the responsibility of all market participants. Ultimately, any viable solution requires active participation and dedication by all stakeholders to provide robust price discovery throughout the system.
We see the Cattle Market Transparency Act of 2020 as an opportunity to advance important priorities without delay or temporary commitments from packers. Insight from our producers has told us that we must act with a sense of urgency, as cattlemen cannot withstand future market disruptions without adjusting the unbalanced power dynamic between those who raise cattle and those who process beef. Without government intervention, cattlemen will continue to be at the mercy of decisions made by the packing industry.
The aforementioned bills are fueled by grassroots support from beef cattle producers who believe in legislative or regulatory fixes to cattle marketing problems within our industry. The iron is hot and it’s time to take action. It would behoove the House and Senate Ag Committee leadership to hold hearings focused on cattle marketing before we are taken out at the knees by another “black swan” event.
The full text of the letter can be found here.
— Iowa Cattlemen’s Association
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