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States Continue Push for Cattle Market Structural Changes
USAgNet - 08/07/2020

The Missouri Cattlemen's Association (MCA), Iowa Cattlemen's Association, Nebraska Cattlemen's Association and Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association led a coalition of 18 other state associations to push for long-term structural changes to the cattle markets at the National Cattlemen's Beef Association's Summer Business Meeting in Denver, Colo., in late July. Two policies led by the coalition intending to add transparency to Livestock Mandatory Price Reporting (LMPR) passed through the national association's committee process and were ratified by the board of directors.

MCA Vice President Bruce Mershon is chair of the state cattle marketing taskforce and serves on the national working group.

The policies would require details of formula transactions to be reported and made public through LMPR and would support removing confidentiality guidelines that currently restrict access to that information. The coalition contends that restricting access to information suppresses the markets and leaves the distribution of profit to speculation.

"We listen to our members and we are laser focused on bringing forward changes that will allow all segments of the cattle industry to have a fair shake," said MCA Executive Vice President Mike Deering. "We will not be in the just enough club. Our membership wants meaningful change and their concerns will not fall on deaf ears at this association."

MCA were among the state affiliates pushing for policy relating to price discovery as well. The policy provided a suite of options for NCBA to pursue to increase negotiated cash trade. The policy included voluntary, legislative and regulatory options.

"The policy had teeth and allowed NCBA to work towards long-term meaningful changes instead of simply hoping for the best and continuing to kick this can down the road," said Mershon.

After more than six hours of intense debate, Mershon said a compromise was reached to have NCBA pursue legislative or regulatory solutions to price discovery issues if current voluntary efforts to improve negotiated fed cattle trade volumes are not successful in achieving regionally robust price discovery levels. Triggers to identify when legislative or regulatory efforts are needed and will be developed by the NCBA Live Cattle Marketing working group by this fall.

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