March 24, 2021

Wyden, Colleagues Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Increase Transparency in Cattle Market

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden today introduced legislation with colleagues from both parties that would foster efficient markets while increasing competition and transparency among meat packers who buy livestock directly from independent producers in Oregon and nationwide.

“Corporate meat packers have ripped off cattle ranchers in Oregon and nationwide for far too long by unfairly driving down prices for their livestock,” Wyden said. “This legislation restores market efficiency by increasing competition and transparency. That modernized cattle market is especially important during the economic fallout of this public health crisis so cattle ranchers can continue growing their small businesses and to ensure families struggling to put food on the table are paying fair meat prices at the grocery store.”

This bipartisan bill co-sponsored by U.S. Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.) would require that a minimum of 50 percent of a meat packer’s weekly volume of beef slaughter be purchased on the open or spot market.

“The Oregon Cattlemen’s Association appreciates Senator Wyden for supporting the spot pricing legislation (S. 3693).  Oregon’s cattle producers recognize the lack of negotiated trade for live cattle resulting in an atmosphere that benefits insider contracts and limits competitive bids,” said Oregon Cattlemen’s Association President-elect Todd Nash. “Producers have also seen a wider spread in the price of boxed beef vs the price of live cattle. In other words, consumers are paying more for retail beef while cattle producers are receiving less for their cattle. OCA supports open, transparent, competitive markets and believes this bill will provide for honest prices of all classes of cattle.”

“The Grassroots American Beef Producers of Oregon definitely appreciates Senator Wyden’s sincere interest promoting the Grassley/Tester bipartisan Legislation to bring transparency and honesty back into the cattle market,” said Curtis W. Martin, Region 1 Director of the United States Cattlemen’s Association covering Oregon, Washington, Alaska and Hawaii. “These efforts will begin to relieve the market manipulation that has put an economic chokehold not only on American beef producers, but also our valued customers. The United States Cattlemen’s Association urges everyone who believes in open, fair and transparent markets to contact our federal legislators in support of SB 3693.”