11.17.21

Daines Helps Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Improve Fairness in Cattle Market

U.S. SENATE — U.S. Senator Steve Daines today helped introduce the “Cattle Price Discovery and Transparency Act.” The bill is part of Daines’ efforts to return fairness to the cattle marketplace dominated by four major meat packers.

“We must bring transparency to the cattle market to ensure Montana ranchers are competing on a level playing field and receiving the fairest price for their beef. This bill is an important step forward to ensuring the largest packers can no longer manipulate the market,” Daines writes.

 The “Cattle Price Discovery and Transparency Act” will: 

  1. 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 in cattle marketing regions. In order to establish regionally sufficient levels of negotiated cash and negotiated grid trade, the Secretary of Agriculture in consultation with the Chief Economist, would seek public comment on those levels, set the minimums, and then implement them. No regional minimum level can be more than three times that of the lowest regional minimum, and no regional minimum can be lower than the 18-month average trade at the time the bill is enacted.
  2. Require the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to create and maintain a publicly available library of marketing contracts between packers and producers in a manner that ensures confidentiality.
  3. Prohibit the USDA from using confidentiality as a justification for not reporting and make clear that USDA must report all LMR information, and they must do so in a manner that ensures confidentiality.
  4. Require more timely reporting of cattle carcass weights as well as requiring a packer to report the number of cattle scheduled to be delivered for slaughter each day for the next 14 days.

Read the bill text HERE.

 

Background:

In August 2021, Daines introduced the “USA Beef Act,” to ensure only beef products from cattle born, raised and slaughtered in the United States can use the “Product of USA” label.

In March 2021, Daines cosponsored two bipartisan bills to increase transparency in the cattle market and cut red tape for Montana’s ag and livestock haulers, the “HAULS Act” and the “Mandatory Negotiated Cash Trade Bill.”  

On July 22, 2020, Daines issued a statement on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) release of a report and update on the ongoing investigation into allegations of price-fixing and market manipulation within the cattle market and the meatpacking industry. 

In July 2020, Daines brought USDA Under Secretary Northey to Montana to hear directly from Montana farmers and ranchers in a roundtable discussion.

On July 15, 2020, Daines sent a letter urging the USDA and the DOJ to actively coordinate and expand the scope of their efforts in the ongoing investigations into allegations of market manipulation and anti-competitive behavior by meat packers in the cattle industry. 

In July 2020, Daines led a roundtable discussion with USDA Under Secretary Greg Ibach with some of Montana’s cattle industry leaders to discuss the important and ongoing investigations into meat packers and allegations of market manipulation and price fixing in the cattle markets.

On May 12, 2020, Daines joined a letter in support of efforts by attorneys general across the country calling on the DOJ to move quickly in its investigation of allegations of price-fixing and market manipulation within the cattle market and the beef meatpacking industry. 

In April, USDA announced it was expanding its investigation into the divergence between box and live beef prices. Daines spoke directly with Secretary Perdue about this issue and the need for USDA and DOJ to investigate.

On March 19th, 2020, sent a letter calling on the DOJ to investigate the ongoing allegations of price-fixing and market manipulation within the cattle market and the beef meatpacking industry.

In September 2019, Daines sent a letter to the USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue urging a swift, thorough and transparent investigation into the impact of the fire that occurred at a Tyson Food beef processing plant in Holcomb, Kansas.

 

 

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Contact: Katherine McKeoghKatie Schoettler