USDA turned down a request by a handful of Ag senators ahead of last weekend’s shutdown cliff to declare the department’s market news service staff essential, an action that has some in agriculture fuming.
Iowa Republican Senator and farmer Chuck Grassley used colorful language to express his anger that USDA turned down a request to keep its market news service operating if there was a government shutdown. He said, “On Thursday, just 72-hours before the end of the fiscal year, the Biden Administration’s USDA announced that it would not deem market news as essential, in case of a shutdown. So, they gave the ‘finger’ to those of us in the Senate, that asked that that be kept open. That decision could have cut off a valuable data source for (the) Ag economy and created a ‘blind spot’ for operations that rely on market news.”
Cattle markets, among them. National Cattlemen’s Tanner Beymer said “A lot of that information is like the root of what we’ve been trying to accomplish on market transparency over the last several years, not to mention the fact that LMR is relied on heavily in pricing cattle on certain formulas and grids.”
Referring to Livestock Mandatory Reporting, passed by Congress to boost price discovery and address concerns over meat industry concentration. Beymer says USDA’s Ag Marketing Service needs to keep its market reports “timely and regularly publicized.”