The Senate Agriculture Committee hearing on cattle markets identified potential issues in the market and possible solutions. Scott Bennett, American Farm Bureau Federation Congressional Relations Director, said the hearing scratched the surface on hot topics regarding cattle markets.
"Those topics include a regional mandatory minimum negotiated trade, packer concentration, antitrust and anti-competitive issues with the packers, as well as the need for a beef contract library for producers to see what other contracts exist in the marketplace," Bennett said.
Bennett added that Farm Bureau has three priorities included in the discussion.
"The first is a regional based mandatory minimum negotiated trade. We do support Senator Deb Fischer's Cattle Market Transparency Act in the Senate that would address that," Bennett said. "The second thing is a beef contract library where redacted beef contracts would be available for the public to view. The third and final thing is simply livestock mandatory reporting reauthorization."
American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall apprecaited the hearing on price volatility.
“The American Farm Bureau appreciates the Senate Agriculture Committee’s efforts to get to the bottom of the deeply concerning price disparities facing America’s ranchers. Grocery store meat prices continue to rise while payments to ranchers remain rock bottom," Duvall said. "It’s time for Congress and the administration to get serious about determining what’s driving the imbalance. We urge lawmakers to reauthorize Livestock Mandatory Reporting, create a beef contract library, and publicize the results of the Department of Justice investigation into livestock markets to ensure farmers are paid fairly as they work to put food on the table for families across the country.”
Bennett called the Senate Agriculture Committee hearing a good first step.
"With livestock mandatory reporting set to expire the end of September, we know that time is of the essence, if we are going to do anything in regards to the cattle markets," Bennett said. "We certainly do not want to see that lapse, but we will continue to work with these committees on the issues of importance to American Farm Bureau."