Reps. Dusty Johnson (R-SD) and Henry Cuellar (D-TX) this week introduced the bipartisan Cattle Contract Library Act of 2021 to create a library for cattle contracts within the USDA’s Agriculture Marketing Service Department equipping cattle producers with market data to make informed decisions in negotiations with meatpackers.
Currently, USDA maintains a pork contract library, and following significant volatility in the cattle market and the release of the July 2020 Boxed Beef & Fed Cattle Price Spread Investigation Report, the creation of a library was recommended by experts and stakeholders. In response to this investigation, Johnson introduced sweeping cattle reform legislation to provide more transparency in the market, including the creation of a contract library.
The cattle contract library is widely supported by industry groups and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, and the introduction of this legislation comes after more than a year of National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) pushing for the creation of the library.
“After more than a year of upheaval, facing everything from extreme drought to supply chain disruptions, many cattle producers have been backed against a wall. We need to act urgently to provide them with relief,” said NCBA President Jerry Bohn. “There is no single, silver bullet solution to the wide variety of needs among our diverse membership, but lawmakers can start by focusing on viable solutions that have broad-base support across the industry. The cattle contract library is one such solution, and it will help our producers command more leverage in negotiations with the packers. We appreciate the work of Congressman Johnson and Congressman Cuellar to move the ball forward on this urgent issue.”
Earlier this month, NCBA Vice President and South Dakota rancher Todd Wilkinson testified before the House Agriculture Committee and underscored the need for greater transparency in cattle markets. One of the solutions he advocated for was the creation of the cattle contract library, as well as full reauthorization of Livestock Mandatory Reporting (LMR).House ag hearing - NCBA VP Todd Wilkinson (4:58)