Farm Bureau says this week’s Senate Agriculture Committee hearing on cattle markets starts a much-needed discussion. Micheal Clements shares what needs to happen next.
Clements: 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, says the hearing scratched the surface on hot topics regarding cattle markets.
Bennett: 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.
Clements: Bennett says Farm Bureau has three priorities included in the discussion.
Bennett: One 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. 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.
Clements: He calls the Senate Agriculture Committee hearing a good first step.
Bennett: 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. 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.
Clements: Micheal Clements, Washington.