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Cattle Contracts Library becoming reality

A rule is being developed to publish complete cattle contracts to use in library.

The Cattle Contracts Library is one step closer to reality with the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service launch of a pilot library.

The Cattle Contracts Library concept came from H.R. 5609 and called on USDA to create a user-friendly cattle contract library that will publish information pertaining to the type of contract; the duration of the contract; provisions in the contract that may affect the base price of the cattle; schedules of premiums or discounts; and transportation arrangements.

AMS hosted a listening session in April 2022 to begin the process of gathering feedback from stakeholders. Feedback gathered from this meeting and through a comment period was used in the development of the pilot library. Creators used comments related to content, frequency of reporting, and usability to develop the pilot library. From this, AMS developed a working library model which was primarily populated with inactive contracts. The model was presented to a wide range of stakeholders and end users, with a focus on content and usage.

In order to populate the pilot with information from active contracts, AMS is currently drafting a rule which will result in publication of a regulation to ensure complete reporting of contractual information and volumes purchased against the contracts using the criteria established under the Livestock Mandatory Reporting statute (packers who slaughter 125,000 head of cattle annually).

“The Cattle Contracts Library is designed to be a tool for cattle producers, making information accessible which may in turn allow them to capture unrealized value for their livestock,” says NCBA Vice President of Government Affairs Ethan Lane. “We are pleased to see the pilot program progressing and note the important decision to use the Livestock Mandatory Reporting statutes as a basis for any subsequent rulemakings. We look forward to continuing to work with staff at AMS to ensure the success of this tool as well as the protection of our members’ proprietary business information.”

The House overwhelmingly passed H.R. 5609 in December 2021 to address challenges in cattle market transparency by directing AMS to establish the contract library for cattle contracts that would be reported and published along with other ongoing livestock reporting.

Legislators successfully worked to secure funding for this purpose in the FY2022 omnibus appropriations package.

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