Livestock Marketing Reformers Face Uphill Battle in Congress 


Livestock marketing reforms in Congress face an uphill battle, despite reaching a bipartisan deal to boost price discovery and competition in the highly concentrated beef industry. That, as part of further extending Livestock Mandatory Reporting next month.

Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley leading the latest reform effort, admits his bipartisan deal to set regional mandatory minimum levels of negotiated versus contract trades, still faces industry pushback.

That includes, from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the North American Meat Institute, representing packers and processors.

“I’m sure they don’t want the status quo affected at all, but they’ve got to know that there’s real negative to how they run their business and to how fair they are, and I would expect them not to like it, but if they’re smart, they would endorse it.”

Grassley is more optimistic about cooperation from Ag committee chair Debbie Stabenow; “We’ve had very promising discussions with chairman Stabenow, and I think they know how strongly we feel about it, and I’m sure there’s a big majority within their committee that feel very strongly about doing something about this.”

The deal is sponsored by Republicans Grassley and Deb Fisher, but also has bipartisan support.

“These talks couldn’t really get down to serious discussion until Fisher and I reached our compromise, and then, you want to remember that American Farm Bureau is supporting the bill, and it has bipartisanship.” With support from Senate Finance Chair Ron Wyden and Ag Senator Jon Tester. National Farmers Union and several independent cattle producer groups are also onboard.