Statement of Sen. Chuck Grassley at the Senate Agriculture Hearing on Mandatory Price Reporting
Thank you Mr. Chairman for holding this hearing today. Before I get started I would like to welcome two fellow Iowans who are testifying today.
Due in large part to concerned Iowa livestock producers Congress passed the Livestock Mandatory Reporting Act (LMPR) in 1999 to help improve market transparency.
Since Mandatory Price Reporting was implemented by USDA in 2001, I have heard from producers across Iowa who question the integrity and accountability of the reported prices under Mandatory Price Reporting. While there is a lack of "believability" regarding the information generated by Mandatory Price Reporting, nearly all producers across Iowa feel strongly that the information would be valuable if the program had more credibility and improved transparency.
Thanks to producer comments and dissatisfaction with the current program, Senator Harkin and I offered to initiate a Government Accountability Office (GAO) examination of the Mandatory Price Reporting program.
I then conditioned my support of any multi-year extension or revision of Mandatory Price Reporting on the GAO study results. Unfortunately, there is growing pressure from packers and "packer lackeys" to act before the GAO report is completed.
Under the auspice of "consensus" a number of groups serving packer interests are pushing agendas contrary to the interests of Iowa’s pork producers and cattlemen. The Iowa livestock community believes any congressional action before receipt and review of the GAO report would be premature and ill-informed.
The goal of re-authorization should be to improve the existing legislation to the best of our ability. If the non-partisan GAO is not allowed to complete its work before the law is re-authorized, Congress will be neglecting the opportunity to review and reflect upon an exhaustive study.
Let me be clear, livestock producers in Iowa do not think it is prudent to move forward without substantive review and potential improvement of the current program. Only those entities that fear transparency should be fighting for a 5 year extension with no consideration for the GAO’s pending conclusions.
Thank you again Mr. Chairman for holding a hearing on this important topic and I look forward to working with you on this issue.