March 08, 2023

Levin, Feenstra Introduce Legislation to Hold Big Packers Accountable for Price-Fixing Schemes

The Cattle Price Discovery and Transparency Act would return fairness to the cattle marketplace and hold big meat packers accountable

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Reps. Mike Levin (D-CA) and Randy Feenstra (R-IA) introduced their Cattle Price Discovery and Transparency Act to return fairness to the cattle marketplace dominated by four major meat packers.

Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Jon Tester (D-MT), and Ron Wyden (D-OR) are leading companion legislation in the U.S. Senate. The Iowa Farm Bureau and the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association are both supportive of this legislation.

“The significant consolidation in the agricultural sector has hurt our independent family farmers and ranchers while raising the prices we all pay at the supermarket,” said Rep. Mike Levin. “I’m proud to co-lead the Cattle Price Discovery and Transparency Act to promote competitive and fair business practices, help address consolidation in the cattle industry, and lower food costs for families across the county.”

“The Big Four Meat Packers are illegally distorting the cattle market to increase their profits at the expense of Iowa family farmers. It’s shameful and it’s wrong,” said Rep. Feenstra. “The Cattle Price Discovery and Transparency Act will finally expose the Big Packers’ price-fixing schemes and hold them accountable for their antics. I am proud to introduce this important legislation with Senator Grassley to bring transparency to the cattle marketplace and ensure that our producers and their families are paid a fair price for their high-quality product.”

"Congressman Feenstra's commitment to serving Iowa's fourth district and independent cattle producers is evident with the re-introduction of the Cattle Price Discovery and Transparency Act," said Bob Noble, president of the Iowa Cattlemen's Association. "We hope there will be an opportunity to discuss this important legislation within the House Agriculture Committee."

This legislation would:

  1. Require the Secretary of Agriculture to establish 5-7 regions encompassing the entire continental U.S. and then establish minimum levels of fed cattle purchases made through approved pricing mechanisms. Approved pricing mechanisms are fed cattle purchases made through negotiated cash, negotiated grid, at a stockyard and through trading systems that multiple buyers and sellers regularly can make and accept bids. These pricing mechanisms will ensure robust price discovery and are transparent.
  2. Establish a maximum penalty for covered packers of $90,000 for mandatory minimum violations. Covered packers are defined as those packers that during the immediately preceding five years have slaughtered five percent or more of the number of fed cattle nationally.
  3. Include provisions to create a publicly available library of marketing contracts, mandating boxed beef reporting to ensure transparency, expediting the reporting of cattle carcass weights, and requiring a packer to report the number of cattle scheduled to be delivered for slaughter each day for the next 14 days. The contract library would be permanently authorized and specify key details about the contents that must be included in the library – like the duration and other provisions in the contract that may impact price such as schedules, premiums, discounts, and transportation arrangements.

You can find the bill text HERE.