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Rounds, Colleagues Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Increase Price Discovery in Cattle Market

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), and Jon Tester (D-Mont.) introduced bipartisan legislation to foster more competitive cattle markets. This bill will require that a minimum of 50 percent of a meat packer’s weekly volume of cattle purchases take place on the open or spot market. The bill applies to meat-packing facilities that slaughter more than 125,000 head annually. These facilities would also be required to slaughter cattle purchased under this requirement within 14 days.

“Well before the COVID-19 pandemic began, South Dakota livestock producers were burdened by depressed cattle prices that did not reflect the true value of their product,” Rounds said. “Our legislation takes an important step to stabilize the cattle market by enhancing price discovery. This will give South Dakota’s independent farm and ranch families a greater opportunity to receive a fair price for their quality product. This issue requires our continued focus and attention.”

“The lack of transparency in cattle pricing isn’t a new problem. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has only highlighted the need for additional price transparency measures to ensure producers are getting a fair price for the hard work of raising cattle,” Grassley said. “Food doesn’t come from the grocery store, it comes from tens of thousands of farmers and independent producers who work day and night to ensure families across the country have an abundant supply of food. Independent producers deserve to be paid what their beef is worth.”

Senators Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.) are cosponsors of this legislation.

Rounds recently reintroduced legislation that would benefit South Dakota’s producers by allowing local meat and poultry products to be sold across state lines. Read more about the New Markets for State-Inspected Meat and Poultry Act here.