What They're Saying: Johnson Leads Cattle Reform Bill in the House
On Thursday, U.S. Representative Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.) introduced the PRICE Act, a bill that provides greater price reporting and transparency, comprehensive risk management solutions, bolsters small processor and producer-owned cooperative processing opportunities, and updates the Packer and Stockyards Act to create a cattle contract library.
Cosponsors of the bill include Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Mike Conaway (R-TX), and Representatives Darren Soto (D-FL), Glenn "GT" Thompson (R-PA), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Henry Cuellar (D-TX), Frank Lucas (R-OK), Greg Gianforte (R-MT), David Rouzer (R-NC), Rick Crawford (R-AR), Jason Smith (R-MO), Tom Emmer (R-MN), and Jim Hagedorn (R-MN). Here's what supporters are saying:
General Farm Commodities and Risk Management Ranking Member Rep. Glenn "GT' Thompson: "Cattle producers nationwide have been hit hard by the pandemic and the supply chain disruptions that have followed, and they deserve our support for working around the clock to put food on the tables of American families. The PRICE Act will provide increased transparency and fairness, particularly for our small and family-owned ranches."
The National Cattlemen's Beef Association Vice President of Government Affairs Ethan Lane: "The Tyson fire in Holcomb, KS and the supply chain disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have brought the issues of price transparency in the cattle markets and beef processing capacity to a boiling point within our industry. This legislation is a significant step in the right direction as we continue to explore ways to support producers who have been impacted by two major black swan events, in an already volatile cattle market. We are grateful to Rep. Johnson and all the cosponsors for their bipartisan leadership in this space and will continue working alongside them to see these reforms enacted."
The United States Cattlemen's Association (USCA) Vice President Justin Tupper: "The provisions laid out in the PRICE Act provide a solid foundation with which to build out a Livestock Title in the next farm bill. Both the 2018 and 2014 Farm Bills failed to include a specific title for livestock, instead dumping those programs into the 'miscellaneous' bin. The sections included within the PRICE Act offer a solid base with which to begin constructing a clear, concise, and dedicated section within the framework of the largest agriculture-related legislation to bolster the livestock sector."
Rep. Henry Cuellar (TX-28): "America's cattle industry is facing an unprecedented situation as our country combats the coronavirus. This bipartisan legislation will help bring stability to the cattle market during these difficult times. As a senior member of the Agriculture Subcommittee on Appropriations, I am committed to fighting for our ranchers so they are able to recover through this crisis. I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, including Congressman Johnson, to pass this important legislation."
Rep. Frank Lucas (OK-03): "From natural disasters to the fire in Holcomb, Kansas to the current health pandemic gripping our nation, cattle producers across our country have faced significant disruption. My chief concern is the well-being of my neighbors and the cattlemen and women who have been working diligently during these troubling times to continue to provide high-quality beef for the American consumer. Today, I'm proud to join Congressman Dusty Johnson (SD-AL) in introducing the PRICE Act, helping eliminate regulatory barriers for cattle ranchers and increasing the resources for these hard-working men and women. As we continue to weather economic and health conditions of the pandemic, Congress and USDA must provide solutions to ease the burdens currently felt by cattle ranchers."
Rep. Jim Hagedorn (MN-01): "Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and related events out of their control, livestock producers throughout America have been forced to the brink of insolvency and face severely depressed markets. The PRICE Act is an important step to ensuring the safety and stability of our agriculture workforce and food supply, eliminating barriers to entry for small processers, and increasing investment in the livestock industry. I'm proud to work with my Agriculture Committee colleagues on this critical piece of legislation."
Rep. Greg Gianforte (MT-AL): "Montana producers need to get a fair price for their beef. I am proud to join my colleagues to introduce the PRICE Act and expand processing capacity, increase price reporting and transparency, and begin reviewing attempts at foreign investment in U.S. agriculture for threats to national security."
Rep. Rick Crawford (AR-01): "Protein market disruptions in the last year have resulted in supply chain disruptions and empty grocery store shelves, causing panic across the country. The PRICE Act strikes the right balance between reduced regulatory barriers, appropriate market transparency, and support for small meat processors. Congress must continue the dialogue and ultimately, consider legislation that strengthens our supply chains and furthers national security."
Rep. Roger Marshall, M.D. (KS-01): "The ongoing pandemic has exposed several weaknesses in our current cattle marketing and processing systems, causing financial hardship for cattle owners in Kansas and across the U.S. Since the beginning of this crisis, I have stood with our livestock owners and fought for assistance and regulatory relief that will provide the industry with the flexibility needed to respond. Now it is time to look forward and make updates to our system that will create greater price reporting and transparency, allow smaller processors to grow and take on additional processing capabilities as well as make much needed reforms to the Packers and Stockyards Act. I am optimistic that the legislation we are putting forward today will reform and improve the system to make it work for all livestock owners."
Rep. Jason Smith (MO-08): "Cattle producers are some of the hardest working men and women in the country, they deserve access to fair and transparent prices. Recent market disruptions have shown that greater accountability in our cattle markets is desperately needed. I continue to fully support investigation of the large beef packers for price manipulation and I'm proud to have helped author this legislation which will give our producers the tools they need to level the playing field and compete for fair prices."
Rep. Tom Emmer (MN-06): "The strength of our food supply chain is a matter of national security, and during the Coronavirus outbreak, we have seen how a supply chain under stress impacts every American. I am dedicated to strengthening the supply chain to ensure our farmers, ranchers, and producers can do what they do best: feed and fuel the world. I thank Congressman Dusty Johnson and the rest of my colleagues for partnering to introduce this critical, bipartisan legislation that would provide needed improvements to livestock agriculture."
Rep. David Rouzer (NC-07): "The livestock industry is facing unprecedented challenges which demand that we find solutions. This bill takes meaningful steps to help reduce disruptions to our livestock markets and processing systems by reducing regulatory costs and improving price transparency, along with other measures to support small meat processors."