With the law requiring meat packers to report the prices they pay producers for animals due to expire tomorrow, a coalition of livestock groups is calling on Congress to immediately approve a multi-year reauthorization of the act.
Livestock producers, including the American Farm Bureau Federation, American Sheep Industry Association, National Cattlemen's Beef Association, and National Pork Producers Council, say that allowing the law to expire would "leave producers in the lurch â€“ without complete market information." The Livestock Mandatory Reporting Act of 1999, the coalition pointed out, is necessary for a transparent, accurate and timely national market reporting system that allows producers to make knowledgeable business decisions.
The livestock producers strongly support H.R. 3408, a bipartisan bill sponsored by Reps. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., and Collin Peterson, D-Minn. The five-year reauthorization legislation, approved by the U.S. House earlier this month, contains three enhancements for the pork industry, including:
- Adding more sows to the pricing reports to more accurately reflect the sales and prices paid in the sow market.
- Changing the timing for data reporting to help USDA with its workload and, thus, increase report accuracy and efficiency.
- Allowing USDA to publish price distributions for net prices to provide more useful information than is currently provided by the price ranges specified in the law while maintaining the current confidentiality requirements.
U.S. Senate legislation extends the act only for one year and contains no pork enhancements.
Livestock producers have agreed to a consensus position for a multi-year reauthorization and are urging Congress to act before the price reporting law expires.