Axne, House Agriculture Committee Take First Step in Improving Cattle Market Transparency

October 21, 2021
Press Release
Axne: ‘The bill we’ve passed today is just one piece of what is needed – because Iowa’s producers are not getting a fair shake. There’s more that we must do to support transparency and increase competition in our cattle markets’

Today, Rep. Cindy Axne (IA-03) joined a bipartisan majority of the House Agriculture Committee in advancing legislation designed to improve transparency on transactions in U.S. cattle markets.

The Cattle Contract Library Act would create a publicly available library of contracts in the cattle markets, which will give producers a better frame of reference on how their transactions might compare.

After the passage of the legislation, Rep. Axne emphasized that this vote was the first of many that Congress should be taking to level the playing field for Iowa’s cattle producers.

“A contract library would help cattle producers better understand the value of their product and ensure they are not taken advantage of by large corporate processors,” said Rep. Axne. “But the bill we’ve passed today is just one piece of what is needed – because Iowa’s producers are not getting a fair shake. There’s more that we can do to support transparency and increase competition in our cattle markets. I’m proud to have co-led bipartisan legislation to level the playing field for Iowa’s producers through a cash market mandate and 14-day delivery, and I am hopeful this vote today in our Committee is a first step and not the end of considering much needed reforms in our cattle market.”

The Iowa Cattlemen’s Association (ICA) also supports a contract library, but emphasized that more reform is necessary.

“The Iowa Cattlemen’s Association has long supported the creation of a cattle contract library,” said ICA President Dick Godfrey of Mills County. “We believe it will help provide additional transparency to the fed cattle market. However, we must not lose sight of a comprehensive solution, which also includes a requirement for packers to competitively participate in the cash market.”

Last year, Rep. Axne co-led bipartisan legislation in the House to increase transparency in U.S. cattle markets and spur added price discovery and competition for Iowa producers using cash markets.

That bill is known as “50/14” and is led by Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley in the Senate. The measure would require processors to have a minimum of 50% of their weekly slaughter purchased from cash market sales – giving Iowa’s producers more volume in a fairer market and more leverage with processors – and ensure 14-day delivery.

Earlier this year, Rep. Axne joined U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in Council Bluffs to announce $500 million from the American Rescue Plan aimed at expanding regional processing.

Rep. Axne and Sec. Vilsack highlighted that investment at a recent House Agriculture Committee hearing on the state of the livestock industry.

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