December 06, 2022 - Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) published for public inspection a final rule in the Federal Register to secure the contract information needed to populate a Cattle Contracts Library. The official publication of the final rule is scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2022. The final rule will require packers that slaughtered an average of not less than five percent of the number of fed cattle slaughtered nationally during the immediately preceding five calendar years to submit contractual information for the purchase of cattle.

The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2022 directed the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) to create a Cattle Contracts Library Pilot Program (library) to increase market transparency for cattle producers. AMS hosted a listening session in April 2022 to begin the process of gathering feedback from stakeholders. Feedback gleaned from this meeting and over the subsequent months has informed the development of the pilot library, including comments related to content, frequency of reporting, and usability. From this process, AMS developed a working library model which was primarily populated with inactive contracts. The model was presented to a wide range of stakeholders and end users, with a focus on content and usage.

The publication of the final rule, which goes into effect on Jan. 6, 2023, will ensure complete reporting of contractual information and volumes purchased against the contracts, including: supplemental information on cattle requirements; associated schedules of premiums and discounts; delivery and transportation terms and payments; appendices and agreements of financing, risk-sharing, or profit sharing; or other financial arrangements associated with such contracts, whenever new contracts are offered, or existing contracts are updated.

After publication, AMS will work directly with those entities required to report to ensure they understand what type of information is required, and how and when it must be provided. AMS expects to have a working Pilot for public consumption in early 2023 with plans to hold an industry briefing session prior to release. Once that occurs, AMS will engage in producer education through webinars, meetings, and other opportunities. Ensuring that this information is readily available, accessible, and understood by those who stand to benefit is of critical importance.

All information related to the library pilot is posted on the AMS Cattle Contract Library webpage.