WASHINGTON D.C. — A new bill introduced to Congress Thursday aims at cattle reform after the U.S. Department of Agriculture released a report identifying issues in the cattle market. Representative Dusty Johnson, along with 11 other representatives, introduced the PRICE Act in response to the report.
The bill aims to improve price reporting, create more risk management solutions, update the Packer and Stockyards Act, and give smaller producers more opportunity.
“At least in state, people are most complimentary of my plan to make sure that at the small processing and small packer level, meat locker level, that they’ve got more flexibility to grow,” said Johnson. “That they have the opportunity, that if they’re state inspected, that they have the opportunity to sell across state lines direct to the consumer.”
Since the cattle market’s volatility during the pandemic on top of the repercussions from the Tyson Holcomb plant fire last year, holes in the supply chain were highlighted through the industry. The bill would also authorize the USDA to publish feasibility studies to expose opportunities for new and expanded livestock and meat processing facilities.
“One of the things I want to do is make sure we’re studying it and providing dollars for feasibility studies so that people can have hard data about geographically where would additional capacity make sense and financially can they make a go of it,” said Johnson.
The bill has support from the American Farm Bureau Federation, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, and the South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association.
“From furthering livestock risk management education to addressing cover crops on Prevent Plant acres, the PRICE Act addresses many of the issues and challenges beef producers face that have been highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association President Eric Jennings. “In particular, we have long supported the ability to ship our state inspected beef products across state lines. It’s also critical to find the right solution to livestock marketing issues, the proposed feasibility study for additional cattle processing facilities along with helping smaller beef processing plants increase their production are steps in the right direction. We greatly appreciate Representative Johnson’s efforts on behalf of livestock producers.”
To read the full bill, visit here.