Hoeven Working to Advance Cattle Contract Library Implementation, Improve Price Transparency & Market Competition

Senator Introduces ND Rancher Shelly Ziesch at Senate Agriculture Committee Hearing

WASHINGTON – At a hearing of the Senate Agriculture Committee this week, Senator John Hoeven urged Bruce Summers, Administrator of the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), to implement the cattle contract library pilot program as soon as possible, part of the senator’s broader efforts to improve price transparency and competition in cattle markets. As the lead Republican on the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee, Hoeven worked to establish the pilot program and helped secure $1 million for the effort through the Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 funding legislation.

Hoeven also introduced North Dakota rancher Shelly Ziesch at the hearing, where she provided testimony on the challenges facing ranchers in the current market conditions. Ziesch operates a fourth-generation farm and ranch near Pettibone, North Dakota, and currently serves on the North Dakota Farmers Union board of directors.

“A cattle contract library is an important tool that supports price discovery and encourages greater competition, which will benefit both producers and consumers. That’s why we funded this pilot program and are working with USDA to keep it moving forward, with the goal of making it a permanent program,” said Hoeven. “With these and other efforts to address the challenges affecting our livestock producers underway, we appreciate Shelly Ziesch for coming to Washington. Her testimony provided a needed North Dakota perspective and helped drive home the importance of ensuring ranchers can access competitive markets.”

In addition to advancing the cattle contract library, Hoeven has helped introduce legislation to:

  • Establish a new office at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to investigate, prosecute and bring civil or administrative actions for violations of the Packers and Stockyards Act.
  • Require that a minimum of 50 percent of a meat packer’s weekly volume of beef slaughter be purchased on the open or spot market. The legislation is sponsored by Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Jon Tester (D-Mont.).
  • Expand ranchers’ ability to provide more locally-produced meat to consumers by utilizing custom slaughterhouses.