Two new USDA reports to put more details into cattle prices

The USDA will launch two new cattle pricing reports next week that "will bring needed clarity to the marketplace," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Thursday. The reports, which will provide more information on prices for cattle sold through the major channels, were greeted as a significant step toward transparency in an often-opaque market.

Vilsack: Stronger rules on the way for fair play in livestock marketing

The USDA will propose three rules to give cattle, hog and poultry producers more leverage in dealing with meat processors in an increasingly concentrated industry, said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. The initiatives would make it easier for a producer to prove unfair treatment by a processor and would write a new regulation on use of so-called tournament systems by processors to determine pay for poultry farmers.

Meatpackers skeptical of broader disclosure of cattle prices and purchases

Noting complaints about dwindling competition, the USDA listed several ways to improve price transparency in the cattle market on Wednesday and offered to assist stakeholders and policymakers in exploring options to assure fair prices and level the playing field between producers and processors.

USDA kills the proposed organic checkoff program

The Agricultural Marketing Service of the Department of Agriculture issued a preliminary notice Friday morning terminating the proposed organic checkoff program. The program, which was controversial among organic industry stakeholders, would have funded research and marketing for organic products. No paywall

New leaders for USDA meat inspection, crop subsidy and marketing agencies

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said Carmen Rottenberg will lead USDA's meat inspection agency, Richard Fordyce will head the Farm Service Agency, and Bruce Summers is the new chief of the Agricultural Marketing Service.

California dairies to consider their first FMMO

The Agricultural Marketing Service will publish a proposal for a California Federal Milk Marketing Order (FMMO) on Feb. 14, says Agri-Pulse. The order would regulate product prices between the farmer and first buyer. And California, which prod

USDA spells it out: Grass-fed beef comes from cattle fed only grass

Eight months after one USDA agency rescinded its standard for grass-fed beef, a sister agency published a "labeling guideline" — open to public comment for 60 days — that says the term is available only for beef from cattle "that were only (100 percent) fed grass (forage) after being weaned." A small-farm group said the step would "preserve the label's strong reputation."