WASHINGTON — Congressman Dusty Johnson led the debate, and the U.S. House followed by overwhelmingly approving what is called the Cattle Contract Library Act with a vote of 411 to 13.
What this bill does is create a library for cattle contracts, within the USDA’s Ag Marketing Service.
A similar library exists for the pork sector, but cattlemen are currently unaware of contract terms being offered by packers.
The bill would require packers to report terms of alternative marketing agreements between packers and producers while equipping ranchers with additional market data needed to make informed marketing and business decisions.
“But as we’ve seen a migration of sales away from the sale barn and to alternative marketing agreements, that has left our producers less prepared to understand that’s going on in the marketplace,” said Johnson. “And that’s why I was so grateful to see a broad section of stakeholders come together in Phoenix a few months ago and they said, ‘Gosh darn it, we are tired of having the livestock industry fight among each other. Let’s settle on what we can agree on.’”
Following the vote Johnson issued this statement:
“Today marks a big win for cattle producers in South Dakota. Since I came to Congress, producers have made it clear they want transparency. The Cattle Contract Library provides just that and increases competition in an industry that desperately needs it.”
The bill now heads to the U.S. Senate.