Iowa Cattlemen Respond to Introduction of Cattle Transparency Act

| March 5, 2021

Contact: Anna Hastert, Director of Communications, Iowa Cattlemen's Association, (515) 296-2266

Earlier this week, Sens. Deb Fischer (R-NE) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) introduced the Cattle Market Transparency Act of 2021. This bill attempts to restore transparency and improve price discovery in the fed cattle market by establishing regional mandatory minimum levels of cash trade and providing more market information to producers.

With thoughtful consideration, the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association cannot support the Cattle Market Transparency Act of 2021 in its current state. We affirm proactive provisions, such as the creation of a contract library, reports on the number of cattle scheduled for delivery, and the requirement that USDA report all information mandated by Livestock Mandatory Reporting. However, we disagree with the concept of using a three-year average of negotiated and negotiated grid purchases to determine a required baseline. 

Initiating a regional minimum mandate using a three-year average would prevent further erosion of price discovery and transparency, but would not address the imbalance of cash trade across the entire beef belt. Producers in the Iowa/Minnesota and Nebraska reporting regions already provide ample price discovery by trading more than 60 percent and 41 percent, respectively, using negotiated means when marketing fed cattle inventory.   

The desire of the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association is to continue working alongside legislators and stakeholders in the development of an optimal and appropriate solution for the cattle industry. Our criticism of the initial requirement based on a three-year average does not negate the value of the aforementioned provisions in this legislation. However, we firmly believe the responsibility for robust price discovery should be shared by all participants in the fed cattle market.

About the Iowa Cattlemen's Association: The Iowa Cattlemen’s Association represents nearly 9,000 beef-producing families and associated companies dedicated to the future of Iowa’s beef industry. ICA’s mission is “Grow Iowa’s beef business through advocacy, leadership and education.”