Cattle market fairness bill passes Senate Ag Committee

The Senate Agriculture Committee Wednesday passed the Cattle Price Discovery and Transparency Act and the Meat Packing Special Investigator Act. The legislation will address anticompetitive practices in the meat and poultry industries.

Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says, “With the passage of this bill, my years-long beef with Big Cattle is one step closer to being settled.”

The Special Investigator legislation would create the Office of the Special Investigator for Competition Matters within USDA’s Packers and Stockyards Division. The special investigator will have a team of investigators, with subpoena power, dedicated to preventing and addressing anticompetitive practices in the meat and poultry industries and enforcing antitrust laws.

Strongly supported and pushed by the Iowa Cattlemen's Association, the Cattle Price legislation would help put producers on a level playing field with buyers by creating price discovery and market transparency but faces strong industry opposition.

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Vice President of Government Affairs Ethan Lane responded, “creating a duplicative, bureaucratic new special investigator role is the wrong approach.”

National Farmers Union President Rob Larew says the committee action “is a welcome move towards boosting enforcement of competition laws that get to the bottom of abusive market practices.”

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