Prepared Remarks by
U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa
At the House Agriculture Committee Hearing on the State of the Livestock Industry
Scott, Ranking Member Thompson, and other distinguished members of the House
Agriculture Committee – it is an honor to testify today to discuss the state of
the livestock industry.
name is Chuck Grassley. And I’m a farmer from Butler County, Iowa.
this hearing covers all livestock, I want to discuss the reform needed in the
Scott, I appreciate your interest in cattle market reform. When we met earlier
this summer to discuss my bill with Senator Tester, you took a keen interest in
ensuring that family farms across the country not only survive, but can make an
Vilsack, the next witness, knows that cattle producers are struggling.
USDA, Secretary Vilsack is taking steps to expand the meat processing industry
with grants and loans to address bottlenecks in the food supply chain.
has also taken action to support the enforcement of the Packers and Stockyards Act.
addition, President Biden issued an executive order where he called on the
Secretary of Agriculture to ensure farmers have, “Measures to enhance price
discovery, increase transparency, and improve the functioning of the cattle and
other livestock markets.”
I appreciate the actions from the White House and Secretary Vilsack, it is now
time for Congress to do our part.
the nation’s number one producer of meat, Iowans rely on market information
provided by Mandatory Price Reporting to run their businesses.
reauthorization of Mandatory Price Reporting is the vehicle available where we
can add additional price transparency and price discovery measures.
the past 18 months we’ve seen massive price discrepancies between fed cattle
and boxed beef.
is pushing cattle producers and feeders to the brink of having to selling their
four major beef packing companies control over 80 percent of the cattle
companies have the advantage of procuring cattle from thousands of producers,
acting as a chokepoint for the entire industry.
the critical nature of their operations, these packers dominate the marketplace
and limit opportunity for pricing negotiations.
to USDA, for every one dollar Americans spend on food, only 14.3 cents goes to
the retail price of beef for consumers has increased and remains high.
want to make it clear that I’m not upset about paying more for my beef. I’m
upset the farmer isn’t getting paid.
while some participants in the third panel will say otherwise, there is no
denying we need serious reform in the way our country markets cattle.
believe my bill, commonly referred to as 50/14, and would create the price
transparency that is needed in the marketplace.
colleague, Senator Fischer has a bill that would help as well.
Senator Fischer and I are working on a compromise that can unite the industry because
kicking the can down the road is not an option.
beef industry employs hundreds of thousands of hardworking men and women who
work each day to help feed our country and the world.
in front of you today to ask that you join with me and other Senators on the
Senate Agriculture Committee to include real reform in Mandatory Price
across the country are counting on us.