February Arrives As Key Window Narrows for Cattle Market Reforms 

A key window’s narrowing for cattle market reforms as part of an extension of Livestock Mandatory Reporting that expires with a stop-gap federal funding bill on the 18th.

No January hearing its sponsors hoped for on mandating regional levels of negotiated cattle pricing to help independent producers. And now, new time pressure.

“We haven’t decided what happens after February…so that’s the question.” A question Senate Ag Chair Debbie Stabenow raised ahead of the February 18 sunset of stop-gap federal funding that also extended Livestock Mandatory Reporting—and a likely vehicle for Grassley-Fisher cattle market reforms.

Senator Chuck Grassley said; “I think Senator Stabenow feels one of two things, either it’s got to be the support of both leaders of the Agriculture Committee. Or, at least, if some Republicans on the committee don’t support it, that they don’t fight it vigorously.”

Since that comment, the American Farm Bureau joined cattle industry and packer groups to oppose mandating negotiated prices. Stabenow had spoken earlier about holding a hearing. “I expect at some point we’ll be doing a hearing, because that’s a really important issue, and we’ll see whether or not, we’ll see whether or not we have agreement.”

The House passed an extension of Livestock Mandatory Reporting through September that could provide an alternate vehicle for cattle pricing reform if near-term Senate efforts fail.

House Ag Chair David Scott told the House in December, that bill allows more time to reach a consensus on marketing reforms.

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