In this file:
· Feenstra Presses Vilsack on Cattle Market Reform
· Iowa Rep questions Vilsack about meat processor program
Feenstra Presses Vilsack on Cattle Market Reform
U.S. Rep. Randy Feenstra asked U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack if he would commit to help with legislation to improve price discovery in the cattle markets.
The Iowa Torch
October 8, 2021
WASHINGTON – On Thursday, the House Agriculture Committee held a full hearing on the state of the livestock industry, specifically addressing concerns regarding anticompetitive behavior in the cattle marketplace. U.S. Rep. Randy Feenstra, R-Iowa, raised the concerns Iowa cattle producers have brought to his attention — including the urgent need to provide much-needed certainty in the industry by identifying and implementing policy solutions.
“One of the key concerns from cattle producers in my district is a lack of transparency in pricing. Since coming to Congress, I’ve advocated for efforts to ensure true price discovery that allows cattle producers sufficient leverage in cash negotiations,” Rep. Feenstra said during Thursday’s hearing.
The Biden administration recently published a statement saying they were “encouraged to see bipartisan legislation by U.S. Senators Jon Tester, D-Mont, Debra Fischer, R-Neb., Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and others that seek to improve price discovery in the cattle markets.”
After Grassley spoke to the committee and urged members to immediately pursue legislative solutions, Feenstra asked U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack if he would commit to helping with this bipartisan legislation.
“There’s no question that we need more information. There are fewer and fewer negotiated sales, which obviously have an impact on alternative marketing arrangements, and there can be potential for manipulation. We’re more than happy to provide help and assistance,” Vilsack responded in part, later saying, “This is not easy to do, but it’s important to be aware of the need for greater transparency.”
Feenstra also questioned Vilsack on the administration’s timeline for Packers and Stockyards rulemaking announced as part of President Biden’s executive order on promoting competition in the American economy. Vilsack informed the committee that he is hopeful an initial proposal will be released by the end of this year...
more, including links, video [4:21 min.]
Iowa Rep questions Vilsack about meat processor program
By Larry Lee, Brownfield
October 8, 2021
An Iowa Congresswoman has concerns about USDA’s 500-million dollar expanded meat and poultry processing grant program. Cindy Axne told a House Ag Committee hearing Thursday more local processing is badly needed. “During the pandemic, cattle prices had declined by 18% while boxed beef prices went up by 80%, so what we’re seeing, of course, is producers being paid less, consumers are paying more, but the packers control over 80% of the market and are making significant profits.”
But, Axne says it is unclear what happens if a small processor utilizes the program, and that processor then sells the business. “I’m a bit concerned that these new resources could ultimately benefit the large packers if they’re allowed to purchase their competition and retain their market power.”
Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack says...