Hoeven Helps Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Improve Price Transparency, Competition in Livestock Markets

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven, Ranking Member of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee and a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, recently helped introduce bipartisan legislation sponsored by Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Jon Tester (D-Mont.) to increase transparency and competition among meat packers. The legislation requires that a minimum of 50 percent of a meat packer’s weekly volume of beef slaughter be purchased on the open or spot market.

“Our ranchers play an important role in our economy and our quality of life, and they deserve fair markets for the high-quality products they provide,” said Hoeven. “The reforms proposed by this legislation are an important part of the conversation to improve price discovery in livestock markets, leading to better transparency and more competition. That’s a win for both livestock producers and consumers. Going forward, I will remain committed to working to find a solution to this pressing issue.”

In addition to Hoeven, Grassley and Tester, this legislation is cosponsored by Senators Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.).

The bill comes as part of Hoeven’s ongoing work to help ranchers maintain their operations through current challenges and ensure producers have access to fair and transparent markets. The senator’s efforts include:

  • Securing an additional $13 billion in agriculture assistance in the year-end legislation passed by Congress in December.
    • The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently announced additional COVID-19 assistance utilizing this funding.
    • The assistance includes cattle top-up payments to help producers who sold into a depressed market after the April 15 deadline used in the original Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP).
    • As the chairman of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee over the past three years, Senator Hoeven has secured more than $60 billion in agriculture assistance to help farmers and ranchers.
  • Working to establish a livestock statutory dealer trust, which was included in the year-end legislation and recently implemented by USDA, to ensure unpaid sellers of livestock are given priority in collecting receivables in the event of a dealer default.
    • Hoeven, along with Senator Kevin Cramer, also cosponsored bipartisan legislation introduced in the 116th Congress to address the problem of livestock dealer payment default.
  • Advancing the Feed Emergency Enhancement During Disasters with Cover Crops (FEEDD) Act, legislation he introduced with Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) to provide farmers and ranchers additional flexibility to alleviate feed shortages in years with widespread excessive moisture, flooding or drought.
    • This legislation follows Hoeven’s efforts in 2019 and 2020 to provide relief to producers facing forage shortages caused by record levels of prevented plant acres across North Dakota.