The Senate Ag Committee on Thursday held a hearing on the challenges and opportunities facing livestock and poultry producers. Chairman Pat Roberts noted in his opening comments that it was the first such hearing in five years.
Congress is examining volatility in the livestock markets from a number of angles, with the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture hosting a similar hearing earlier this week.
Testifying at both hearings was Tracy Brunner, President of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.
He told lawmakers that the NCBA and CME are looking at potential changes to help ensure the futures market works for cattle producers. They believe part of the increase in volatility in the futures market has to do with high frequency trading.
High Frequency Trading is utilized throughout all financial markets, and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission has been keeping an eye on it, too.
Brunner is a rancher and cattle feeder from Kansas. Also on Thursday’s panel was Joe Goggins, a cattle producer and auctioneer from Montana, and a member of the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association. He told lawmakers that the futures market in Chicago simply isn’t reflective of the cash market fundamentals in cattle country.
The U.S. Cattlemen’s Association would like to see price reporting modernized, as well as stricter enforcement of the current Packers and Stockyards Act.