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Senate Agriculture Committee Advances Mandatory Price Reporting as Part of Reauthorization Package

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

(North American Meat Institute)

The Senate Committee on Agriculture last week advanced a three-bill authorization (HR 2051) package by voice vote, which included measures to reauthorize the mandatory price reporting program, the National Forest Foundation and the U.S. Grain Standards Act. The legislation, which now moves to the full Senate for consideration, would renew price reporting and grain standards until September 30, 2020. These measures are set to expire on September 30. The House of Representatives earlier this year passed the reauthorization bills by voice vote.

The Senate version does not make livestock mandatory price reporting an essential service that would continue in a government shutdown, whereas the House bill would have given hog, cattle and sheep producers a guarantee that USDA would post prices paid for animals and wholesale meat cuts without disruption. The Senate bill also would require packers to inform the Department of Agriculture about the prices they pay livestock producers for cattle, hogs and lambs, and the prices they receive for wholesale meat cuts. Further, the legislation includes technical changes to swine and lamb reporting that would capture a higher number of transactions and yield more accurate reports. There is also a provision requiring USDA to conduct a study, with input from the livestock and meat community, on the workability of the reporting program prior to the next reauthorization in 2020.

The House is expected to consider the Senate version of the bill, pending Senate approval.

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