Darren Soto Backs Cattle Market Reform Backed by Republicans on Capitol Hill

U.S. Rep. Darren Soto, D-Fla., is teaming with top Republicans on Capitol Hill to reform the cattle market.

Soto is one of twelve cosponsors of U.S. Rep. Dusty Johnson’s, R-SD, “PRICE Act,” which the South Dakota congressman’s office is calling a bill “that will increase transparency in the cattle market, improve risk management, and support new and expanding meat processors.”

When Johnson brought out the proposal last week, his office highlighted some of the reasons behind it.

“Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released the Box Beef & Fed Cattle Price Spread Investigation Report,’ which identified a number of systemic issues in the cattle market. Johnson introduced the PRICE Act in response to the findings of this report,” Johnson’s office noted. “The cattle market faced extreme volatility following the Tyson Holcomb plant fire in 2019 and again during the COVID-19 pandemic. The PRICE Act provides greater price reporting and transparency, comprehensive risk management solutions, bolsters small processor and producer-owned cooperative processing opportunities, and updates the Packer and Stockyards Act to create a cattle contract library.”

“Cattle country is hurting and has not fully recovered,” said Johnson when he introduced the bill last week. “USDA laid out several areas where Congress can implement real solutions to improve the market – the PRICE Act is the answer to many of the issues our ranchers have faced for years. Our producers want a fair market and fair prices and that’s what this bill delivers. Congress needs to deliver for cattle country.”

U.S. Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Texas, is the top Republican on the U.S. House Agriculture Committee and he is cosponsoring the bill.

“Our nation’s cattle producers are facing unprecedented market challenges due to supply chain disruptions created by the COVID-19 pandemic as well as last year’s fire at the Holcomb, KS beef plant,” said Conaway. “I am proud to join my colleagues in introducing the PRICE Act, which offers a suite of consensus proposals that will improve the marketplace.”

Soto is one of only two Democrats backing the bill, joining U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, in backing it.

“Ranching and beef production have been fundamental to Florida’s heritage and economy for hundreds of years,” said Soto. “Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has hit cattle country with one of the toughest challenges it will ever face. The bipartisan PRICE Act offers a solution to create cooperative opportunities for smaller processors bearing the brunt of supply disruption. Let’s help Florida’s cattle ranchers get the necessary help to make it through this crisis and continue to be an integral part of beef production across the country.”

The American Farm Bureau Federation and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association are backing the bill.

Johnson’s bill was sent to the U.S. House Agriculture; Financial Services; Energy and Commerce; and the Foreign Affairs Committees. So far, there is no companion measure in the U.S. Senate.


Reach Kevin Derby at kevin.derby@floridadaily.com.

Kevin Derby
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