FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 26, 2022

Contact: Lyndsey Medsker
Lmedsker@nfudc.org, (202) 557-5328

WASHINGTON Representing National Farmers Union (NFU) in a hearing today before the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, Shelly Ziesch testified in support of S.4030, the Cattle Price Discovery and Transparency Act of 2022 and S.3870, the Meat and Poultry Special Investigator Act of 2022.

Ziesch is a fourth-generation rancher from Pettibone, ND and serves on the board of directors for North Dakota Farmers Union. In her testimony, Ziesch called for greater transparency, price discovery, and fairness in cattle markets and discussed how these changes are critical to the survival of family farms and ranches.

“Ranchers need to have options when marketing their cattle, including cash trades and alternative marketing arrangements,” Ziesch testified. “As the cash market thins, local livestock auctions are going out of business. If that trend is allowed to continue, producers will lose those important marketing options.”

Testifying in support of the Cattle Price Discovery and Transparency Act, Ziesch detailed several provisions that will promote fairness and transparency in cattle markets, including:

  • Establishing regional minimums for negotiated trades, which will preserve the cash market as an option for cattle producers and improve and preserve price discovery.
  • 14-day slaughter required reporting, expedited carcass reporting, and mandatory reporting of cutout yield, all of which will give producers a better understanding of supply and demand factors affecting the market.
  • Establishing a cattle contract library, which will give cattle producers insight into contract terms they should consider or avoid when using AMAs.

Ziesch also offered strong support for the Meat and Poultry Special Investigator Act, which will strengthen enforcement of existing competition laws.

“The Packers and Stockyards Act has existed for more than 100 years, but a lack of enforcement has allowed consolidation and anticompetitive practices to continue,” testified Ziesch. “USDA and the Department of Justice need stronger tools to enforce existing laws. Senate Bill 3870 would give USDA the authority and resources it needs to make sure our laws are enforced the way Congress originally intended.”

In addition to today’s testimony, NFU’s “Fairness for Farmers” campaign works to promote competitive markets and address rampant corporate consolidation in the food and agriculture sectors and in rural economies. To learn more, visit https://nfu.org/fairness-for-farmers/.

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National Farmers Union advocates on behalf of more than 200,000 American farm families and their communities. We envision a world in which farm families and their communities are respected, valued, and enjoy economic prosperity and social justice.

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