Washington, D.C. — The American Farm Bureau Federation is reviewing a recent hearing regarding livestock markets.
On Thursday, lawmakers on the *House* Ag Committee held a hearing on livestock market issues. The committee heard testimony from packers, producers, other lawmakers, and USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack. According to Scott Bennett – American Farm Bureau congressional relations director – one of the hearing’s speakers was Iowa *Senator* Chuck Grassley.
Bennett says it’s the first time in modern history that a sitting Senator has come across the Capitol to the House side to testify in front of a committee. Bennett says that Senator Grassley has an effort around mandatory minimum negotiated trade and he pled his case in front of the committee.
During his remarks, Grassley stated that while he appreciates recent actions from the White House and Secretary Vilsack regarding cattle market transparency, now is the time for Congress to do its part.
Bennett says the hearing included a discussion on anticipated Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration pending rules.
Bennett says that there are three anticipated rules from USDA. He says “One will involve undue preference, one will involve competition, and the third, that is relatively new, will involve the tournament pay system in poultry. Secretary Vilsack, in his testimony, said we could anticipate those rules by the end of this year.”
Grassley noted that the “Big Four” beef packing companies maintain control over 80 percent of the cattle industry. Grassley concluded by calling on the House Ag Committee to join the Senate in including “real reform” in Mandatory Price Reporting.