(AMN) – Michigan Farmers Union (MFU) applauds the introduction of the Cattle Price Discovery and Transparency Act of 2022, a bill originally sponsored by Senators Jon Tester (D-MT), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Deb Fischer (R-NE) and Ron Wyden (D-OR). This is the third time the bill has been introduced in the Senate and was recently revised from a 2021 version.
“In order to create truly competitive markets, fairness and transparency must be the basis,” said Bob Thompson, president of Michigan Farmers Union. “It’s about time for independent farmers and ranchers to stop getting shortchanged and start earning their fair share, which is what the Cattle Price Discovery and Transparency Act would help accomplish.”
Over the past year, MFU has brought attentionto the unjust and unequal outcomes that cattle markets create. The pandemic and its supply chain issues have highlighted the problems that independent farmers and ranchers face in getting their product to people. Four companies have a stranglehold on the cattle market in the United States, controlling 85 percent of the market.
“Large corporations have made record profits throughout the pandemic while independent farmers and ranchers are struggling to make ends meet,” Thompson continued. “Beef prices are rising, but producers are left hanging. We hope our Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters will join their colleagues in supporting this important piece of legislation.”
MFU believes the Cattle Price Discovery and Transparency Act is a great step in the right direction to provide fairness for independent farmers, ranchers, and families by:
- Establishing a minimum quantity of cattle for packers to purchase through “approved pricing mechanisms” based on five to seven geographic regions, which the U.S. Department of Agriculture will set so independent farmers and ranchers get paid fairly.
- Promoting greater transparency through requiring reporting of cattle weights and slaughter deliveries two weeks in advance, which will give independent farmers and ranchers more information about where they are selling their livestock products.
- Creating a publicly available cattle contract library to report prices and purchases between producers and packers, allowing independent farmers and ranchers to make better informed decisions about their marketing and businesses.
- Increasing penalties for packers who violate these requirements, which will hold corporations accountable for driving up costs on families who purchase food.
Michigan Farmers Union works to protect and enhance the economic well-being and quality of life of family farmers. Michigan Farmers Union is a home for producers who are committed to conserving our state’s natural bounty, whether they are long-established or beginning their agricultural journey.