WASHINGTON – Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) today questioned witnesses at a Senate Agriculture Committee hearing to examine cattle markets, transparency and prices from the cattle producer to consumer.

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 reported.
“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 5th letter 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 found HERE