The Senate Ag Committee has advanced two bills aimed at increasing competition and transparency in the markets. The Cattle Price Discovery and Transparency Act of 2022 and the Meat and Poultry Special Investigator Act of 2022 will head to the full Senate for consideration.
Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley proposed an amendment to the Special Investigator Act, which passed unanimously, that would ensure the assigned investigator would be a senior-level USDA staff person and not a political appointee.
The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association opposes the bills. Ethan Lane, NCBA vice president of government affairs says the U.S. cattle industry uses the most complex set of markets in the world and instead of embracing the freedom of that marketing system, Congress is instituting a one-size-fits-all policy that will hurt cattle producers’ livelihoods.
The US Cattlemen’s Association says the bill is one of the much-needed solutions to an increasingly consolidated meat industry. USCA president Brooke Miller says when producers lack the ability to negotiate a fair price for cattle based on current market conditions it results in a vertically integrated, corporate-controlled beef supply chain.
Last week the U.S. House passed its version of the special investigator bill. It is opposed by the North American Meat Institute, NCBA, National Pork Producers Council, and the National Chicken Council.