Grassley questioned Justin Tupper, Vice
President, United States Cattlemen’s Association on the producers’ ability to
market their cattle with lack of cash trade in other regions and limited information
“In your testimony, you mentioned
that alternative marketing agreements like formulas offer advantages to
producers but that they also adversely affect price transparency, price
discovery, and price competition. Iowa leads the nation in cash trade nearing
60 percent and they’re frustrated that they’re shouldering the burden. How do
we know what cattle are worth in regions that don’t have price discovery? Are
small, independent producers offered the same opportunities to market their
cattle as big producers do through formula contracts?” Grassley asked.
Grassley questioned Dr. Glynn T. Tonsor,
Professor, Department of Agricultural Economics, Kansas State University on importance
of reliable, accessible, and timely market information.
“How can we make the cattle market
work more efficiently so the small Iowa producer can compete? Would more
transparency in agreements help independent cattle producers get a fair price?”
Grassley asked in part.
The hearing today follows Grassley’s
repeated call for the Senate Agriculture Committee to hold a hearing
on this issue. His May 5thletter to the Senate Agriculture
Committee chairman and ranking member can be found HERE.
This is a serious concern for Iowa farmers
and producers. Grassley heard
directly from members of the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association and regularly
hears from family farmers who have been negatively affected by consolidation in
the industry and have faced additional obstacles due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Earlier this year, Grassley introduced
legislation to foster efficient markets while increasing competition and
transparency among meat packers who purchase livestock directly from
independent producers. This bipartisan bill will require that a minimum of 50
percent of a meat packer’s weekly volume of beef slaughter be purchased on the
open or spot market.
Additional photos from the hearing today
can be found HERE.
Grassley also provided a summary of the hearing on his Instagram. Video can be