NAMI Weighs in on Proposed Cattle Contract Library Pilot Program
WASHINGTON — The Cattle Contract Library Act of 2021 aims to increase transparency and price discovery in the cattle market. But the North American Meat Institute (NAMI) said the arrangements for a pilot program are anything but transparent.
A rider in the fiscal 2022 omnibus appropriations bill creates a cattle contract library pilot program that requires companies to report to the government what NAMI considers “proprietary and sensitive data” for release when those companies purchase beef cattle under an alternative marketing agreement. The law does not provide for a public consultation period.
“Congress is directing the administration to create another onerous USDA program for the sole purpose of collecting private business information and making it public without any input from regulated industry,” said Julie Anna Potts, president. and CEO of NAMI. “It’s not transparent or accountable.”
NAMI said the law leaves program development to the Agriculture Marketing Service (AMS) of the US Department of Agriculture. There are no specifications as to the type or amount of data the AMS may require.
“Congress and the administration say they value transparency in the beef and cattle market, but they are burying this rider without debate in a giant spending bill and ordering the USDA to create the pilot program without no feedback from beef companies or cattlemen,” Potts said. “There will be no opportunity for companies to provide valuable perspective on what information to include or how it should be reported.”
The USDA already maintains a similar hog contract library. The cattle contract library is modeled after the pig contract library, but with a few changes. The bill would amend the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946.
Under the Compulsory Livestock Reporting (LMR) Act, packers are required to provide AMS daily with the prices they pay to procure livestock, along with other information, including data from slaughter for cattle harvested in a given time period and net prices, actual weights, dressing percentages, Choice grade beef percentage and price ranges, NAMI explained.
Packers report all initial sales transactions by volume and price through the Daily Boxed Beef Report, which is published twice daily, at 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. Central Time. The Canned Beef report covers both individual beef item sales and current beef cut values and volumes, both of which are derived from individual beef item sales data, NAMI said. .