After Tester’s push, USDA launches Cattle Contracts Library to increase market transparency

Senator has led the effort to increase transparency in the beef industry and give producers a chance to compete in the marketplace

As a direct result of U.S. Senator Jon Tester’s contin­ued push to increase cattle pricing transparency and fight consolidation in the beef in­dustry, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) this week announced the launch of its pilot Cattle Contracts Li­brary. Tester worked with his colleagues on both sides of the aisle, including Senator John Hoeven (R-ND), to secure this program, which was funded through the 2022 and 2023 government funding bills.

The establishment of a cat­tle contract library was a key provision in Senator Tester’s bipartisan Cattle Price Discov­ery and Transparency Act.

“As a third-generation farmer, I will take on anyone in Washington to make sure Montana ag producers get what they need,” said Tester. “That’s why I’ve demanded that we bring some transpar­ency to the marketplace and crack down on the anti-com­petitive practices hurting our family farmers and ranchers. Creating a cattle contracts li­brary is an important step in the right direction, but make no mistake – there is more work to be done.”

The pilot Cattle Contracts Library will increase trans­parency in the beef indus­try by shedding light on the key terms, conditions, and volumes of cattle sales. This information will help cattle producers take advantage of opportunities to better com­pete in the marketplace.

As the Senate’s only working farmer, Tester has long been Montana’s leading champion for family farmers and ranch­ers. Last Congress, he intro­duced two bipartisan anti- consolidation bills – the Meat Packing Special Investigator Act, which would create the “Office of the Special Inves­tigator for Competition Mat­ters” to prevent and address anticompetitive practices in the meat and poultry indus­tries, and the Cattle Price Dis­covery and Transparency Act, which would establish mini­mums for negotiated sales and require clear reporting of mar­keting contracts.

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