June 22, 2022

Wyden, Fischer, Grassley, Tester Cattle Market Reform Bill Passes Agriculture Committee

Committee vote sends legislation to Senate floor

Washington, D.C. – The bipartisan cattle market reform bill cosponsored by U.S. Senator Ron Wyden passed out of the Senate Agriculture Committee today by voice vote, and is now eligible for a final vote on the Senate floor.

“This takes a significant step to restore fairness and reform a marketplace now benefiting only a few corporate meat packers, while unjustly hurting Oregon’s family ranchers and artificially driving up beef prices for consumers,” Wyden said. “I’m glad our bipartisan bill has earned committee support. And I’ll keep working for the passage of this legislation that would help grocery store shoppers and provide our state’s ranchers the opportunity to do what they do best – compete and provide top-notch and affordable beef.”

Alongside Wyden, cosponsors of the Cattle Price Discovery and Transparency Act are U.S. Senators Deb Fischer, R-Neb., Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Jon Tester, D-Mont. The senators unveiled the updated version of the legislation in March.

The updated bill would:

  • Require the Secretary of Agriculture to establish 5-7 regions encompassing the entire continental U.S. and then establish minimum levels of fed cattle purchases made through approved pricing mechanisms. Approved pricing mechanisms are fed cattle purchases made through negotiated cash, negotiated grid, at a stockyard, and through trading systems that multiple buyers and sellers regularly can make and accept bids. These pricing mechanisms will ensure robust price discovery.
  • Establish a maximum penalty for covered packers of $90,000 for mandatory minimum violations. Covered packers are defined as those packers that during the immediately preceding five years have slaughtered five percent or more of the number of fed cattle nationally.
  • The bill also includes provisions to create a publicly available library of marketing contracts, mandating box beef reporting to ensure transparency, expediting the reporting of cattle carcass weights, and requiring a packer to report the number of cattle scheduled to be delivered for slaughter each day for the next 14 days. The contract library would be permanently authorized and specify key details about the contents that must be included in the library like the duration of the contract and provisions in the contract that may impact price such as schedules, premiums and discounts, and transportation arrangements.

The amended bill text is here.

A one-pager of the bill is here.

An updated section-by-section summary of the bill is here.