Arbitrary Mandates Not Solution to Price Discovery Cattle Market Transparency Act Preferable Alternative

March 26, 2021 

The South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association is disappointed Senator Rounds has once again signed on as an original co-sponsor of Senator Grassley’s spot market legislation commonly referred to as the “50-14” bill.  This bill would amend the Agricultural Marketing Act to require packing plants of a certain size to purchase at least fifty percent of their weekly slaughter on the negotiated market to be slaughtered within fourteen days of the purchase, which could lead to producers not being able to utilize Alternative Market Agreements to capitalize on their premium quality cattle. 

 SDCA President Eric Jennings of Spearfish noted, “Beginning with the Holcomb packing plant fire of 2019 and continuing through the COVID-19 pandemic throughout 2020, market disruptions have been of great concern for beef producers, shining a spotlight on the need for greater market transparency.  While SDCA supports efforts to improve price discovery, we oppose this arbitrary 50-14 mandate.” “We have and continue to support Senator Fischer’s Cattle Market Transparency Act, which provides for regionalization of cash trade and reporting to achieve price discovery without overly burdensome restrictions that may ultimately limit marketing opportunities for our members.  The Fischer legislation also addresses other SDCA priorities in bolstering price discovery, including prohibiting withholding reporting information based on confidentiality rules, creating a beef contract library and reporting projected slaughter numbers fourteen days in advance.  We believe these additional changes, coupled with appropriate levels of regional spot market transactions will improve price discovery for cattlemen,” continued Jennings. 

 SDCA remains committed to enhancing price discovery while safeguarding producers’ cattle marketing options and will work with South Dakota’s Congressional delegation to seek enhancements to Livestock Mandatory Reporting and garner support for the Cattle Market Transparency Act.