Opening Statements

Opening Statement: Livestock and Foreign Agriculture Subcommittee Chairman David Rouzer: Hearing to review reauthorization of the Livestock Mandatory Reporting Act

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Washington, DC, April 22, 2015 | comments

Remarks as prepared:

Good afternoon. I would like to welcome our witnesses to this discussion regarding reauthorization of the Livestock Mandatory Reporting Act.

First enacted in 1999, the Act was developed in response to changing markets with an increasing number of animals being sold via marketing arrangements under which prices were not publicly disclosed. As these structural changes continued, livestock producers requested that the then-voluntary price reporting mechanism be made mandatory. Thus, the resulting Act mandated price reporting for live cattle, boxed beef, and live swine, and it allowed USDA to establish mandatory price reporting for lamb sales as well.

Development of the Act and each subsequent reauthorization has ultimately involved and required consensus between producers and packers for implementation to work as smoothly as possible. As we approach the expiration of the current law, we have once again asked producers and packers to work towards consensus regarding any requested modifications to the underlying statute.

We are aware that discussions have been ongoing and that while we are very close to a final package of requests, some further discussion may be necessary prior to announcing a markup of a reauthorization bill. Proposals have been shared between and among the various stakeholder groups and those proposals have been forwarded to the Committee for review. As consensus is reached, the Committee will prepare draft bill text to be circulated among Members with the intent to post that legislation for public review later this week or early next week.

Today, we have invited representatives of the affected livestock organizations, as well as a representative of the packers’ trade association, NAMI, to share their proposals, identify areas of consensus, and to identify areas of concern.

I would note that a representative of the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service, the agency which administers mandatory price reporting, was originally invited to testify today. We have been in discussions with the Secretary’s office and it was the preference of the Department to focus its effort on more detailed briefings and technical assistance on the legislative draft as opposed to testifying on today’s witness panel. Additionally, I’m pleased that Dr. Craig Morris, Deputy Administrator of the Agricultural Marketing Service with direct responsibility for the Livestock, Poultry and Seed Program is here today and is prepared to answer any questions that Members may have.

Again, I would like to thank all of our witnesses for their attendance and now yield to the Ranking Member, Mr. Costa, for his opening statement.

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