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Senate bill would require cash sales of some cattle

To ensure fair prices for cattle producers, the USDA would require meatpackers to buy a specified number of cattle on the spot market and through negotiated “grid” trades under a Senate bill introduced on Tuesday. The bill, similar to legislation filed in September 2020, was backed by the American Farm Bureau Federation and the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association.

Nebraska Sen. Deb Fischer, who filed the legislation in 2020, said the bill “will help facilitate price discovery and provide cattle producers with the information they need to make informed marketing decisions.” Cosponsor Ron Wyden of Oregon said the “detailed and common-sense” bill would provide “producers the transparency and accountability they need to negotiate fair prices, stay in business, and continue generating jobs.”

The Fischer-Wyden bill would mandate that packers buy a mininum number of cattle, varying by each sales region of the country, on the cash market and to report daily the number of cattle that each of them had scheduled for slaughter in the next 14 days. It also would create a library of contracts so producers would know provisions that are available in the market and that might benefit them in negotiating a sale.

Produced with FERN, non-profit reporting on food, agriculture, and environmental health.
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