OCM President Vaughn Meyer OCM President, Vaughn Meyer said, “The mission of OCM is to work for transparent, fair and truly competitive agricultural and food markets and S.3229 is merely an extension of the current lack of market transparency which allows packer domination in the market place”.
S. 3229 introduced by Senators Chuck Grassley (R- Iowa), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Deb Fischer (R- Neb.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) is a compromise attempt to combine S. 949, the Spot Market Protection Bill, and S. 543, the Cattle Market Transparency Act of 2021. Under this union the bill crafters have neglected the dire need for the immediate market transparency measures necessary for independent cattle producer and feeder survival.
Since the 2015 cattle market crash, precipitated by Congressional Country of Origin Labeling rejection, cattle producers have sought Congressional assistance in regaining their lost markets. One of the two key steps to rebuilding the cattle industry is establishing greater cash market transparency.
S. 3229 fails to include immediate mandatory negotiated cash market levels that were originally inclusive in S. 949. Without immediate established cash purchase minimums, producers may have to endure two more years before any cash market reconstruction can occur and then it will be subject to a lengthy USDA approval process. Farmers and Ranchers desperately need immediate intervention to break the stranglehold of corporate consolidation in our food and agricultural economy.
In addition to no present cash market discovery for producers, S3229 precipitates regional scapegoats for differing cash market purchasing requirements whereby regions of higher transparency levels may be reduced by regions with lower 18 month cash market averages. This regionalized approach of S.3229 exempts more than half of the United States translating into a ”get home free card “ for many big four packing plants. Differing industry regional requirements will only serve to create producer animosity, create transportation burdens and dictate processing facility locations.
OCM understands and appreciates the need for industry consensus to fix the ongoing monopsony market power which is depriving thousands of family producers and feeders of their livelihoods. However any consensus must have immediate and lasting solutions for the economic equality of all participants.
OCM, in keeping with our mission for transparent, fair and truly competitive agricultural and food markets, supports only compromises with:
- Immediate nationally mandated cash market discovery to restore market competition, ensure market access and establish a true market basis for all marketing agreements.
- Provide equal terms and treatment toward all individuals, localities and regions in accordance with the 1921 Packers and Stockyards Act section 202 (7 U.S.C. 192) (b).
- Provide equal access to all purchase agreements /contracts for all participants as set forth under the Packers and Stockyards Act.