Last week the United States Cattlemen’s Association (USCA) called on the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) to “convene cattle market participants to discuss concerns related to price transparency and true price discovery.”
USCA sent letters to both Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and CFTC Chairman Heath P. Tarbert, seeking the transparency summits in response to the untimely fire at the Tyson Foods’ Holcomb, Kan., beef plant.
In a statement, USCA said, “In the weeks following the event, U.S. cattle producers have witnessed unprecedented disruption in the cattle marketplace. Two separate Cattle Industry Summits would directly address issues related to the Mandatory Price reporting program, Packers & Stockyards Act violations and definitions, and the cattle futures contracts. USCA looks forward to working with both USDA and CFTC to convene cattle industry stakeholders in the months ahead.”
On Wednesday (Aug. 28, 2019) Secretary Perdue announced he had directed USDA’s Packers and Stockyards Division to launch an “investigation into recent beef pricing margins to determine if there is any evidence of price manipulation, collusion, restrictions of competition or other unfair practices.”
Perdue’s request comes as part of USDA’s “continued efforts to monitor the impact of the fire at the beef processing facility in Holcomb, Kan. If any unfair practices are detected, we will take quick enforcement action. USDA remains in close communication with plant management and other stakeholders to understand the fire’s impact to industry,” the statement from Perdue said.