All six members of Iowa’s congressional delegation are sponsoring legislation to give independent cattle producers more information about cattle prices, but they have just 10 days to convince colleagues it should be included in a must-do bill.
The Livestock Mandatory Reporting Act must be reauthorized by December 3 and Senator Chuck Grassley is lead sponsor of a plan to also force disclosure of the prices paid in private sales of cattle being raised and sold under contracts with a meatpacker.
“So when a person gets on the phone or the Internet to negotiate a price with a packer, they’ve got some database, knowing that today, I ought to be able to get within this range of price for my cattle,” Grassley said Monday after meeting with with cattle producers in Ames.
Brad Kooima, a cattle feeder and commodity broker from Sioux County, said he may go weeks before one of the country’s four big meatpackers makes an offer to buy his cattle.
“They get bigger every day. They have to get fed every day. They get sick,” he said. “And not being able to get a bid for four or five, six weeks at a time, while someone else just because they’ve got a relationship, they’re fine. You know, they’re getting along fine but the independent guy isn’t getting along fine.”
The plan Senators Grassley and Joni Ernst along with the one Iowans Cindy Axne, Randy Feenstra, Ashley Hinson and Mariannette Miller-Meeks are co-sponsoring in the U.S. House would force meatpackers to disclose how many cattle they plan to slaughter each day for at least the next two weeks.
(Reporting by Iowa Public Radio’s Katie Peikes)