Beef Buzz News
Cattle Price Discovery and Transparency Act of 2022 Passes with ObjectionsThu, 23 Jun 2022 13:14:44 CDT
On Wednesday, June 22, 2022, the Senate Agriculture Committee business meeting took place where bills, S. 4030, the Cattle Price Discovery and Transparency Act of 2022, and S.3870, the Meat and Poultry Special Investigator Act of 2022 were both passed on a voice vote. Senior Farm and Ranch Broadcaster, Ron Hays, gives an overview of the meeting and features comments from influential attendees.
Although these bills have attributes that are well supported by those in the cattle industry, there is controversy about whether the cattle market mandate should be part of the measures. Several major agricultural groups have opposed the mandate.
Led by Midwest and Northern state lawmakers including the authors of the measure, Senator Deb Fischer of Nebraska, and Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa, it was passed by a voice vote.
"We know more market transparency and price discovery are needed, and working in this strong, bipartisan fashion with my colleagues from all around the country, our legislation will address these issues," said Senator Deb Fischer.
The Cattle Transparency Act is especially punitive to the Southern Plains and with no senators on the ag committee from Oklahoma or Texas, it fell to Kansas Senator Roger Marshall to defend that part of the country and oppose the measure.
"Transparency is the nectar of free enterprise and capitalism, but capitalism without competition creates opportunities for exploitation," Marshall said. "All that being said, I agree with the American Farm Bureau and Kansas Farm Bureau, and the Kansas Livestock Association that these mandates will actually harm feedlots and cow-calf operations in Kansas by empowering and giving more control to the big four packing plants.
"Thus, along with senator Tuberville, I am going to offer the following amendment but withdraw it. This amendment eliminates the market acquisition mandate for fed cattle.
"I understand the frustrations of all the senators who authored and support this bill and I share those frustrations, but a market mandate is the wrong approach. Economists are already warning that this mandate will reduce cattle prices received by cattlemen and could cost cattle producers anywhere from 23 million to 249 million each year and 90 percent of those costs appear to be borne by cattlemen in Kansas and the southern plains states.
"While this is an attempt to regulate the packer, the result is actually additional regulation of the cattle producer. This will give the packer most of the leverage to decide who gets a good deal and who gets the bad deal. The smallest of our feedlot producers and cow-calf operations will lose in this arrangement.
"The way to best address market problems is not through additional regulations that manipulate the market, rather we need to eliminate the red tape that ties the hands of industry."
Marshall said small producers should have a chance to engage in interstate commerce.
"Pass our bonafide beef branding act to provide a more accurate label and address some of the concerns that Senator Thune mentions," Marshall said. "Pass our fair meat packing act to help small, medium-sized packers compete with the big ones. Reduce labor burdens and allow packers to increase line speeds.
"There are several other transparency positions in the bill I can support, but I simply cannot support a marketing mandate that disproportionally impacts Kansas cattle producers. Again, this amendment is simple and would remove the marketing mandate."
The cattle price transparency act of 2022 did pass on a voice vote on the Senator Agriculture Committee report favorably out to the full senate. Senator Boozman, top republican of the Senate Ag Committee, and Senator Marshall of Kansas asked that their votes be recorded as "no" on this particular measure.
Senator Marshall said he will offer his amendment on the floor if this measure does come to an actual vote of the full senate.
Click the LISTEN BAR below to hear Ron Hays break down the Senate Agriculture Committee business meeting over S. 4030, and S.3870 featuring commentary from attendees.
The Beef Buzz is a regular feature heard on radio stations around the region on the Radio Oklahoma Network and is a regular audio feature found on this website as well. Click on the LISTEN BAR below for today's show and check out our archives for older Beef Buzz shows covering the gamut of the beef cattle industry today.
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