On a voice vote, the House Agriculture Committee approved a bipartisan bill on Thursday to create a cattle contract library at the USDA, with one proponent saying it would "inject much-needed transparency back into the marketplace." The bill was the first market reform to gain traction in Congress this year despite complaints by ranchers that meatpackers have an unfair advantage in an opaque sales system.
Elevated commodity prices supported farm income and kept the U.S. agricultural economy strong into this autumn, said the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank on Wednesday. "Prices of most major crops were at multiyear highs moving into fall harvest and supported farm revenue prospects," wrote economists Nathan Kauffman and Ty Kreitman.
Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley urged reauthorization of mandatory price reporting, telling the House Agriculture Committee on Thursday that it is the ideal vehicle for ensuring cattle producers get a fair price from meatpackers. But few committee members got on board with the idea, preferring to switch topics and complain that the USDA's proposals for fair play in the marketplace would boomerang and mean lower sales prices.
Livestock farms and feedlots in North America may be emitting far more methane, a potent greenhouse gas, than currently assumed, according to a review published in the journal Environmental Research Letters.
The National Audubon Society today announced a partnership with Perdue-owned Panorama Organic Grass-fed Meats that will add nearly a million acres to its Conservation Ranching Initiative. Audubon has focused recent conservation efforts on privately owned rangelands, where 95 percent of grassland bird species live, and the deal with Panorama boosts the total acreage in its ranching program to 3.5 million.(No paywall)
Large meatpackers would be required to buy 50 percent of their cattle for slaughter each week on the open market under legislation filed by nine senators. It was the second bill this month aimed at greater transparency in cattle prices.
The USDA should abandon thoughts of a $125,000 or $250,000 per-person limit on federal payments to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on agriculture, said the cattle industry on Thursday. It was the first public challenge by a farm group to the Trump administration's plan to send $16 billion in cash to farmers and ranchers by June. (No paywall)