Hoeven: USDA Implements Cattle Contract Library to Improve Transparency & Competition in Cattle Markets

Senator Funded Initiative at USDA, Working to Improve Rancher Access to Fair Markets

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) has issued a final rule implementing a cattle contract library pilot program to improve transparency and competition in cattle markets. As the lead Republican on the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee, Hoeven secured funding to establish the library in Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 and pressed administration officials, including Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and AMS Administrator Bruce Summers, to implement the program as soon as possible. The details of the new cattle contract library are as follows:

  • Requires any meatpacker with more than 5 percent of the annual national cattle supply to report to AMS information on the purchase of fed cattle at the end of each calendar month.
  • Details collected by AMS include cattle amount, purchase price and contract timeframe, among other information, which will be aggregated and released publicly.
  • Personally identifiable and confidential business information will not be included in the reports.
  • The final rule can be read here and will go into effect 30 days after it is published in the Federal Register. The library will be publicly available early next year. 

“This cattle contract library that we worked to secure at AMS will serve as an important resource to America’s livestock producers, giving them more of the information they need to get the best price and terms for the sale of their cattle,” said Hoeven. “At the same time, we continue working to strengthen enforcement of our laws, while opening new opportunities for producers to sell their products. That means more competition in cattle markets, which ultimately benefits both ranchers and consumers.”

The library comes as part of Hoeven’s broader efforts to give ranchers more options when selling their products and improve their access to fair and competitive markets. To this end, the senator worked to provide an additional $2 million in FY22 for AMS to enforce the Packers and Stockyards Act and has helped introduce legislation to:

  • Establish a new office at USDA to investigate, prosecute and bring civil or administrative actions for violations of the Packers and Stockyards Act.
  • Expand ranchers’ ability to provide more locally-produced meat to consumers by utilizing custom slaughterhouses.