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Business & Economics

Congressman Johnson wants a library for cattle contracts


Republican U.S. Rep. Dusty Johnson, of South Dakota, is working with a Democratic colleague on legislation to help cattle producers get better prices.

Rep. Dusty Johnson

Johnson and Rep. Henry Cuellar, of Texas, are introducing the Cattle Contract Library Act of 2021. It would create a library for cattle contracts within the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agriculture Marketing Service Department.

Currently, according to Johnson, cattle producers are unaware of contract terms offered by meatpackers, leading to a decline in leverage for smaller producers during price negotiations.

The USDA maintains a pork contract library, and following significant volatility in the cattle market and the release of the July 2020 Boxed Beef & Fed Cattle Price Spread Investigation Report, the creation of a library was recommended by experts and stakeholders, Johnson said.

“Data drives marketing decisions and a contract library will provide much-needed leverage for independent producers," Johnson said in a news release.

Johnson said the contract-library bill is supported by the American Farm Bureau Federation, National, Cattlemen’s Beef Association, U.S. Cattlemen’s Association, National Farmers Union, Livestock Marketing Association, South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association, South Dakota Farm Bureau, and the South Dakota Farmers Union.