Congressman Frank Lucas Breaks Down the Cattle Contract Library Act of 2021Thu, 21 Oct 2021 17:17:14 CDT
Some big news in the cattle world this week is the introduction of the Cattle Contract Library Act of 2021. On Wednesday, Oklahoma Congressman Frank Lucas joined Representatives Dusty Johnson and Henry Cuellar, as an original cosponsor of the bill. Today, Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Director Ron Hays spoke with Lucas about the bipartisan bill.
“This actually is a continuing process that started in earnest after the Holcomb fire back in 2019,” Lucas said. “This is one of the pieces to try and bring more transparency to the process, so that everyone who is engaged in the beef cattle markets can have an accurate understanding of what is going on, to be able to defend themselves in a marketing decision and so consumers can have confidence in what is going on.”
Lucas calls the last year and a half “lost time” because instead of moving toward a resolution for the cattle industry, the COVID-19 pandemic further disabled cattle processing capacity, collapsing live-cattle prices and sending beef prices through the ceiling.
In response to pressure from Congress, the USDA studied the issue and called for a variety of solutions, including the Cattle Contract Library Act of 2021, according to Lucas.
“By the way, this is something that the pork people have been doing for a while now,” Lucas said. “It is not like we are creating something brand new; we are expanding from the pork industry over to the cattle industry, what I think has helped.”
Now, Lucas said Congress and cattle industry members are waiting on the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division to finish an investigation into the potential market misconduct of the four largest meatpackers in the U.S., contributing to a persistent imbalance in the cattle markets.
“I keep hoping, every day, that (the investigations) will be sped up,” Lucas said. “Bottom line is I and my fellow producers have had a wild and crazy last few years for a variety of reasons. If there are problems in the marketing system … then (the Department of) Justice needs to acknowledge it, USDA has to tell us what it takes to enforce what (the Department of) Justice needs done and (Congress) will respond legislatively.”
First, the problem must be understood and real solutions must be presented in order to resolve the issue within the beef cattle industry, according to Lucas.
Lucas said he hopes the Act will bring transparency to his industry.
“It will be easier for us to verify that there are no sweetheart arrangements, that there is no collusion going on - this just provides another reference source,” Lucas said.
Hit the LISTEN BAR below to hear Ron Hays and Congressman Frank Lucas talk about the Cattle Contract Library Act of 2021, including Lucas’ views on the supply chain from an ag perspective, the regulatory zeal of the Biden-Harris administration, the upcoming tax-spending-debt-limit showdown and what ag needs to be watching during all the political theatre.
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