On Oct. 1, 2020, U.S. Representative Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.) introduced the PRICE Act, a bill that would provide greater price reporting and transparency and comprehensive risk management solutions while also supporting producer-owned cooperative processing opportunities and add updates to the Packer and Stockyards Act.
The PRICE Act is co-sponsored by Mike Conaway (R-TX), a ranking member of the Agriculture Committee; as well as Representatives Darren Soto (D-FL), Glenn 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).
A summary of the PRICE Act can be found on Rep. Johnson’s website by clicking here, but I’ll give you a brief synopsis.
- The PRICE Act maintains a robust food safety inspection system, keeping Americans’ confidence in food safety for both state and federally inspected facilities while putting small processors on a level playing field through overtime inspections and opening up new direct-toconsumer options for state inspected meat.
- Creates opportunity for producer-owned processing through a direct and guaranteed loan program to provide credit to new and expanded processing facilities, such as producer-owned cooperatives and tailors the program to allow producers to buy cooperative stock. Addresses barriers to entry in the small processor space authorizing a grant program to remove to ease the cost of Federal, State, or local food safety regulation, feasibility studies, and training.
- Authorizes USDA-NIFA to publish feasibility studies into opportunities for new and expanded livestock and meat processing facilities.
- Creates transparency in the fed-cattle market through a Beef Cattle Contract Library overseen by Packers and Stockyards.
- Directs USDA to provide technical assistance to small processes for best practices during a pandemic.
- Directs USDA to provide Congress cost-benefit and feasibility of various proposals to enhance price discovery through mandatory price reporting.
- Requires comprehensive looks at foreign investment in U.S. agriculture through CFIUS review
- Allows access to CRP and prevent plant cover crop forage in times of supply chain disruption.
The bill is supported by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), United States Cattlemen’s Association and American Farm Bureau Federation. Here is some feedback on the PRICE Act from co-sponsors of the bill, as well as industry leaders:
“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,” said Rep. Thompson. “The PRICE Act will provide increased transparency and fairness, particularly for our small and family-owned ranches.”
“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,” said Ethan Lane, NCBA vice president of government affairs. “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 provisions laid out in the PRICE Act provide a solid foundation with which to build out a Livestock Title in the next farm bill,” said Justin Tupper, United States Cattlemen’s Association vice president. “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.”
The opinions of Amanda Radke are not necessarily those of beefmagazine.com or Farm Progress.