WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) today introduced the bipartisan Cattle Market Transparency Act of 2021. The legislation would restore transparency and accountability in the cattle market by establishing regional cash minimums and equipping producers with more market information. 

“I am pleased to reintroduce this bill with bipartisan support. It will help facilitate price discovery and provide cattle producers with the information they need to make informed marketing decisions. I am committed to working across the aisle to advance the bill forward this Congress,” said Senator Fischer.

“Cattle ranchers and rural economies have been hit especially hard during the COVID-19 public health crisis. And that economic fallout gets compounded for Oregon producers who face both a lack of processing facilities and opaque cattle markets that add up to a serious disadvantage. This detailed and common-sense bipartisan bill would provide our state’s rural producers the transparency and accountability they need to negotiate fair prices, stay in business and continue generating jobs throughout Oregon,” said Senator Wyden.

Support for the Cattle Market Transparency Act of 2021:

“Cattle market transparency and fed cattle market price discovery have been headline issues for Nebraska Cattlemen members over the majority of the past decade.  Items in Senator Fischer’s bill, such as the cattle contract library and clarification of USDA-LMR confidentiality guidelines to avoid non-reporting of USDA-LMR collected data will aid in increasing cattle market transparency for all producers. Additionally, directing USDA-AMS to establish regionally negotiated cash, plus negotiated grid marketing volume minimum thresholds will enhance price discovery for the betterment of all cattle producers.  We sincerely thank Senator Fisher for her work on this vitally important issue for Nebraska Cattlemen members,” said William H. Rhea III, President of Nebraska Cattlemen.

"As a Nebraska cattle producer, I echo the same sentiments expressed by Senator Fischer on the impacts to our livelihood of increased packer competition, decreased competition, and a declining cash market. This bill builds off the recommendations provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in its Boxed Beef and Fed Cattle Price Spread Investigation Report and discussions producers across the U.S. are having in response to historically low cattle prices and a dysfunctional marketplace. Senator Fischer and her team condensed years’ worth of industry discussion into an economically solid and proven piece of legislation that will put us on the path to a more competitive business landscape,” said Lee Reichmuth, U.S. Cattlemen’s Association Region VII (Nebraska & Iowa) Board Member.

“On behalf of Nebraska Farm Bureau and our farm and ranch members, I want to thank Senator Fischer for her dedication and commitment to Nebraska beef producers. Transparency in cattle markets has been and continues to be an issue of great concern to many of our members. Market transparency has been the overarching goal of all of our policy discussions on this topic for years. We’re excited that Sen. Fischer’s Market Transparency Act of 2021 again offers needed reforms and looks to bring transparency back to the cattle marketplace. We look forward to working with Sen. Fischer on this important legislation to enact change in cattle markets that will lead to positive outcomes for our state’s beef producers,” said Mark McHargue, Nebraska Farm Bureau President.

More information: 

Senator Fischer first introduced the Cattle Market Transparency Act in 2020. Today, she and Senator Wyden are reintroducing this legislation, which will:

  1. Establish regional mandatory minimum thresholds of negotiated cash and negotiated grid trades to enable price discovery in cattle marketing regions. It will require the Secretary of Agriculture in consultation with the Chief Economist, to establish regionally sufficient levels of negotiated cash and negotiated grid trade, seek public comment on those levels, then implement.

  2. Require 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 makes clear that USDA must report all LMR information, and they must do so in a manner that ensures confidentiality.

  4.  Mandate that a packer report to USDA the number of cattle scheduled to be delivered for slaughter each day for the next 14 days and require USDA to report this information on a daily basis.

Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.) is introducing companion legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Click here for a summary of the bill. Full text of the legislation is available here.