Mandatory reporting deadline looming
— Senate action wanted before Sept. 30.
— House approved five-year extension.
Among the first livestock industry issues expected to be addressed by the Senate upon getting back from summer vacation at the end of August, is the pending sunset of current mandatory price reporting (MPR) legislation.
The current program is slated to come to an end September 30, and livestock industry leaders are pushing for the Senate to approve a five-year reauthorization of the program. The House of Representatives approved such an action on July 27, prior to adjourning for its month-long summer recess.
A large majority of Senators, however, are awaiting a review from USDA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) regarding the program’s successes and failures and whether or not it is worth reauthorizing for another five years. The call for that review was in addition to a June 22 hearing on the issue, which featured testimony from industry participants, market analysts and officials with USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service, which administers the MPR program.
Washington, DC, lobbyists said last week, it is likely the Senate will approve a limited one-year reauthorization and then take some time to look over OIG’s review and make a determination on a five-year reauthorization next year. Staffers with the House Committee on Agriculture told WLJ last week, that there wouldn’t be much opposition to a one-year reauthorization. The issue would still have to go through a conference committee to come up with a bill that is suitable to both houses and then be voted on by both the full Senate and House.
Lobbyists said that because there will only be a month left between the Senate resuming its session and the reporting program’s deadline, action is expected on the issue within the first week to 10 days of September.
When the House reauthorized MPR last month, they did so with only a few changes being made to a couple of the hog reports. Cattle and sheep reports were untouched, sources said.
Senate concerns also appear to revolve around the hog reports, however, there could be some modifications made to reports on all species. Western state senators have expressed some concern that final daily reports are compiled and released too early in the day, and that producers aren’t given an opportunity to see the most up to date information that may help them make a marketing decision.
MPR was first implemented in 1999 following demands from livestock producers that there be more price discovery and market transparency. MPR requires the largest packers to report live, carcass, grid, formula and boxed beef trades to USDA on a daily and weekly basis. The daily reports are accumulated three times a day, but the final report from a given business day isn’t released until the next morning. — Steven D. Vetter, WLJ Editor
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