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Sunday Talk: Feenstra Talks About the Past Week

by U. S. Rep. Randy Feenstra (4th District)
On Monday, I was pleased to hear the Cattle Price Discovery and Transparency Act was highlighted by President Biden during his meeting with producers.
This bipartisan, bicameral bill, which I recently introduced with Congresswoman Axne in the House and Senator Grassley in the Senate, aims to help independent cattle producers by doing the following:
  • Establish regional mandatory minimum thresholds of negotiated cash and negotiated grid trades based on each region’s 18-month average trade to enable price discovery in cattle marketing regions. In order to establish regionally sufficient levels of negotiated cash and negotiated grid trade, the Secretary of Agriculture, in consultation with the Chief Economist, would seek public comment on those levels, set the minimums, and then implement them. No regional minimum level can be more than three times that of the lowest regional minimum, and no regional minimum can be lower than the 18-month average trade at the time the bill is enacted.
  • Require the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to create and maintain a publicly available library of marketing contracts between packers and producers in a manner that ensures confidentiality.
  • Prohibit the USDA from using confidentiality as a justification for not reporting and make clear that USDA must report all Livestock Mandatory Reporting information, and they must do so in a manner that ensures confidentiality.
  • Require more timely reporting of cattle carcass weights as well as requiring a packer to report the number of cattle scheduled to be delivered for slaughter each day for the next 14 days.
For years, four big meat packers — who control 85% of the slaughter market share — have seen their profits increase while cattle producers have suffered losses. Our proposal will ensure robust negotiated trade, upholding a level playing field for all producers and packers.
The December jobs report was another big miss, and it was the worst of Joe Biden’s presidency. The U.S. economy added just 199,000 jobs during the month, falling well short of economists’ projections that 450,000 new jobs would be added to the U.S. economy in December.
This rounds out a lackluster year for the economy, with inflation also having gone up every single month under the Biden administration — proving President Biden and Democrats’ tax and spend agenda is a reckless approach to economic policy.
As I reflect on my first year of serving you in Congress, I am pleased by what we have accomplished together. I have been working hard to ensure your voice is heard in Washington, and that is why I quickly launched my 39 County Tour, secured seats on committees that impact our district – including the Agriculture Committee, and began pushing back against radical policies that infringe on your constitutional rights. While there is still plenty of work to do, 2021 is full of accomplishments that I am excited to share.
My most important responsibility as your representative is to be an effective voice for you in the halls of Congress. That is why I have never missed a vote and never voted by proxy; I always showed up to work for you and cast my vote in-person. Additionally, I launched and completed my first 39 County Tour, a promise I made to visit every county in the 4th District at least twice every year.
Read my latest column, where I discuss a handful of highlights from 2021:
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