Livestock producers in attendance at the inaugural Cattle Producer’s Forum in Billings, Montana, hosted by the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association, received news on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s next steps toward reauthorization of the Livestock Mandatory Price Reporting Act.

Livestock producers in attendance at the inaugural Cattle Producer’s Forum in Billings, Montana, hosted by the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association, received news on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s next steps toward reauthorization of the Livestock Mandatory Price Reporting Act. This year’s reauthorization resulted in a replica of prior year’s bills, due to a lack of consensus within the industry. However, one new item was successfully attached to the reauthorization bill that requires USDA’s Agriculture Marketing Service to conduct a comprehensive study of the program, to be submitted to Congress by March 1, 2018.

As a first step in the process, AMS conducted a baseline analysis that takes into account the current state of the U.S. livestock marketplace. As reported directly to the Forum’s attendees, and subsequently written in a blog post by AMS Deputy Administrator Craig Morris, several key factors were identified as points for consideration in the next stage of the study:

• “With greater vertical integration and concentration in the industry, the negotiated markets have become thinner, and consequently, the LMR confidentiality requirements have limited the depth of market information provided in some markets that the industry needs.”

• There are a “greater variety of meat products in the marketplace today than ever before.”

• “Over the past 15 years, packers have become larger, more concentrated, and more vertically integrated.”

• “The use of LMR information has expanded beyond price discovery.”

In addition to these points, Deputy Administrator Morris also reported to forum attendees the intent of USDA-AMS to conduct a series of stakeholder meetings to discuss the challenges and goals related to livestock market reporting and the next reauthorization. USCA will bring ideas and discussions from the Cattle Producer’s Forum to these meetings, helping to insure that all U.S. cattle producers have a seat at the table to voice support for necessary revisions and enhancements.