Federal cattle ‘Price Discovery and Transparency Act’ proposed
Legislation would shine brighter light on cattle costs
By Emily Blackmarr
PINE BELT, Miss. (WDAM) - U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith has worked on a bill that will impact cattle farmers and ranchers across the country.
Currently, cattle feed yards are controlled primarily by four main corporations, which makes it harder for local cattlemen to make a living.
The bill that passed the Senate Agriculture Committee would require all cattle feed yards and packers who own cattle to be more transparent about the price of the cattle they are trying to sell.
“It provides the contact library,” Hyde-Smith said. “(A place) (w)here we can go look and see what the big packers are paying to know more of the value of the product we’re raising in Mississippi and throughout the country.”
So, how will this affect the daily farmer?
William Ricky Ruffin, a generational farmer, says it will help to negotiate market price.
“It gives us a better idea about how many cattle they got, how many they’re going to process in the future and it also tells us what price they’re paying for those cattle,” Ruffin said. “It makes us be able to have a better understanding about where our cattle should be priced.”
Currently, local farmers are lucky to get more than one bid, making it difficult to price what their cattle are worth.
The transparency bill would make it easier to gauge pricing.
“It will give us a little more level playing field, where we know what they’re paying for cattle and they’re not able to give special, sweetheart deals to certain feedlots,” Ruffin said. “We can know what we should be getting for our cattle.”
Hyde-Smith says a pilot program will begin in January, which will make packers record how many cattle they own, control, or have in feed lots.