Reps. Cleaver, Hartzler Introduce the Optimizing the Cattle Market Act of 2021

Jun 8, 2021
Press Release

Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Representatives Emanuel Cleaver, II (D-MO) and Vicky Hartzler (R-MO) introduced the bipartisan Optimizing the Cattle Market Act of 2021 to enable mechanisms for greater price discovery and transparency within the cattle market, while equipping producers with more tools and useful information to succeed.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has hit Americans from all walks of life especially hard over the past year—and Missouri’s cattle ranchers are no exception,” said Congressman Cleaver. “After their valiant efforts to keep food on the tables of American families, it’s critical that we do everything possible to ensure ranchers have the market transparency necessary to make informed decisions that will help them stay in business and continue to generate economic activity throughout rural Missouri. I’m proud to introduce this bipartisan, common sense piece of legislation with Congresswoman Hartzler, and I look forward to working with her to get it passed through Congress.”

“Americans producers continue to face challenges in the cattle market, particularly in terms of external market disruptions and the fading COVID-19 pandemic,” Hartzler said. “This legislation aims to usher in transparency improvements and restores accountability in the industry to lift up these struggling sectors and embark on a new chapter of progress for our cattlemen and women. I am proud to introduce the Optimizing the Cattle Market Act to make this a reality for our nation’s trusted agricultural partners.”

“America’s families are paying more for meat at the grocery store while rock bottom prices are paid to farmers. Ranchers can’t continue to lose money on the cattle they work hard to raise. Farmers and ranchers have legitimate questions, and this legislation takes important steps toward ensuring they have fair access to markets and are fully informed on pricing,” said American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall. “We appreciate Representative Hartzler and Representative Cleaver for introducing the Opftimizing the Cattle Market Act of 2021 and we look forward to working with Congress to make certain farmers and ranchers can continue to put dinner on the table in homes across America.”

“Our members are grateful to Congresswoman Hartzler and Congressman Cleaver for working to address the problems we’ve seen in livestock markets the past few years,” said Missouri Farm Bureau President Garret Hawkins. “Beef producers have been continually receiving a smaller percentage of the retail beef price while meatpackers have multiplied their record profits. The Optimizing the Cattle Market Act would improve price transparency and reduce volatility in beef markets. Better information and more predictability will put cattlemen in a better position to make marketing decisions. We look forward to working with Congress to deliver real help for Missouri farm and ranch families on this important issue.”

Specifically, the Optimizing the Cattle Market Act of 2021 would:

  • Express the sense of Congress that there is a need for expedited reauthorization of U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Livestock Mandatory Reporting (LMR) program, including base prices subject to the same reporting requirements as negotiated cash and the creation of a contract library;
  • Direct USDA to provide educational outreach activities for producers on how to best utilize the library;
  • Require the Secretary of Agriculture, in consultation with the Chief Economist, to establish regionally sufficient levels of negotiated cash and negotiated grid trade within 2 years of enactment and to consider stakeholder input through a public comment period. Consideration must also be given to peer reviewed economic research from land grant universities.
    • Packers include only federally inspected cattle processing plants that deliver an average of 125,000 head of cattle per year (roughly 500 head per day) during the prior 5 years.
    • After 3 years, a cost-benefit analysis must be done to determine the operation and effect of regional mandatory minimums.
  • Mandates that a packer report the number of cattle, organized by cattle type, scheduled to be delivered each day for the next 14 days for USDA to make available to the public.

The Optimizing the Cattle Market Act of 2021 is endorsed by the American Farm Bureau Federation, Livestock Marketing Association, Missouri Cattlemen, and Missouri Farm Bureau.

Official text of the Optimizing the Cattle Market Act of 2021 can be found PDF iconhere.

Emanuel Cleaver, II is the U.S. Representative for Missouri's Fifth Congressional District, which includes Kansas City, Independence, Lee's Summit, Raytown, Grandview, Sugar Creek, Blue Springs, Grain Valley, Oak Grove, North Kansas City, Gladstone, Claycomo, and all of Ray, Lafayette, and Saline Counties. He is a member of the exclusive House Financial Services Committee; Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Housing, Community Development, and Insurance; member of the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress; member of the Committee on Homeland Security; and a Senior Whip of the Democratic Caucus. For more information, please contact Matt Helfant at 202-590-0175 or matthew.helfant@mail.house.gov