Current Cattle Markets Daily Headlines for Wednesday, September 23, 2020

by | Sep 23, 2020 | 0 comments

Senator Fischer introduces Cattle Market Transparency Act of 2020

  • Yesterday, U.S. Senator Deb Fischer of Nebraska, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, introduced the Cattle Market Transparency Act of 2020.
    • This legislation will hopefully restore transparency and accountability in the cattle market by establishing regional negotiated cash minimums and equipping producers with more market information.
  • The Act will do the following to resolve ongoing issues within the cattle markets:
    • Regional mandatory minimum thresholds of negotiated cash trades will be established by the Secretary of Agriculture, public comment on the levels will be sought, and then the levels will be implemented.
    • Require USDA to create and maintain a library of marketing contracts between packers and producers, and require the packers to supply this information to USDA.
    • Mandate that a packer must report the number of cattle scheduled to be delivered for slaughter each day for the next 14 days.
    • Make clear that all information should be reported in a manner that ensures confidentiality.


Cap on brand inspector work week generates concerns

  • Earlier this month, the Nebraska Brand Committee made the decision to cap brand inspector’s schedules at 40 hours per week with absolutely no comp time to be authorized.
    • This decision was made so the brand committee could meet its budget obligations for a pot of money that’s earmarked for over-time pay.
  • Last week, ranchers and brand inspectors, along with a few state senators confronted the committee with concerns regarding this decision.
    • Many are worried that this fall’s cap in hours could potentially impact the number of available brand inspectors and possibly cause a halt to commerce.
  • Since the directive has been issued, there hasn’t been a backlog of inspections. Inspectors from other areas who are under the limited hours have relieved inspectors who have hit their 40 hours.
  • Brand Committee projections showed that if comp time weren’t cut, comp expenditure would be $240,000 over the given appropriation.
  • Unlike other state agencies that receive tax dollar appropriations from the legislature, the Nebraska Brand Committee is a cash fund agency.
    • However, the brand committee still must go before the legislature and ask for permission to use its checkbook.
  • Last year, the committee performed inspections on 3.6 million cattle.


Brand law working group to meet in Grand Island

  • A task force of cattle industry stakeholders has been assembled to help the Nebraska Brand Committee decide the future of Nebraska’s brand laws and the agency that enforces it.
    • The first meeting was held on Monday at Fonner Park in Grand Island in response to an interim study resolution that was introduced after hearings for two brand bills this past spring ended at an impasse.
      • LB 1165 would have ended mandatory brand inspection, eliminated the Nebraska Brand Committee, and transferred remaining duties for brand recording to the Department of Agriculture.
      • LB 1200 would have changed the fee structure supporting the Brand Committee, expanded the role of the Brand Committee to incorporate EID and other forms of animal ID to provide alternative means of brand inspection compliance, as well as offer additional services to the industry.
    • According to Senator Steve Halloran, there have been increased questions about the role and value of mandatory brand inspection and concerns expressed that the fees charged to certain segments of the industry is unfair.
    • The task force is made up of representatives from Nebraska Farm Bureau, Nebraska Cattlemen, Independent Cattlemen of Nebraska (ICON), an EID manufacturer, the brand committee, the Livestock Marketing Association, the dairy industry, Nebraska Beef Producers Committee, and farmers and ranchers.


Boxed beef prices

  • Choice boxed beef: $215.44 (-0.78)
  • Select boxed beef: $206.30 (+0.48)


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