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Vilsack Responds to Feenstra Questioning on Cattle Market Reform: ‘It’s not easy’

The House Agriculture Committee held a full hearing on the state of the livestock industry, specifically addressing concerns regarding anticompetitive behavior in the cattle marketplace. Rep. Randy Feenstra (IA-04), who has been advocating publicly and privately for a hearing on this issue, raised the concerns Iowa cattle producers have brought to his attention — including the urgent need to provide much-needed certainty in the industry by identifying and implementing policy solutions.

“One of the key concerns from cattle producers in my district is a lack of transparency in pricing. Since coming to Congress, I’ve advocated for efforts to ensure true price discovery that allows cattle producers sufficient leverage in cash negotiations,” Rep. Feenstra said during today’s hearing.

The Biden administration recently published a statement saying they were “encouraged to see bipartisan legislation by Senators Tester, Fischer, Grassley, Wyden, and others that seek to improve price discovery in the cattle markets.” After Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) spoke to the committee and urged members to immediately pursue legislative solutions, Feenstra asked Vilsack if he would commit to helping with this bipartisan legislation.

“There’s no question that we need more information. There are fewer and fewer negotiated sales, which obviously have an impact on alternative marketing arrangements, and there can be potential for manipulation. We’re more than happy to provide help and assistance,” Secretary Vilsack responded in part, later saying, “This is not easy to do, but it’s important to be aware of the need for greater transparency.”

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