Price Reporting Rules Show Little Change
August 12, 2016

The American Sheep Industry Association was disappointed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's decision to reject industry-suggested language in reauthorizing Livestock Mandatory Price Reporting. The final rule was published Aug. 11 in the Federal Register and will be effective in 60 days.

ASI offered three recommendations to USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service that would have improved the industry's access to useful market data:
  • The term packer-owned lambs means lambs that a packer owns for at least 28 days immediately before slaughter.
  • Lambs committed would be defined as lambs that are intended to be delivered to a packer beginning on the date of an agreement to sell the lambs.
  • To require packers to report price, volume and classification descriptors for all lamb pelts from lambs purchased on a negotiated purchase, formula marketing arrangement or forward contract basis is supported.
USDA approved the definition change for packer-owned lambs, but will not implement the latter two recommendations.

"It is disappointing that all three suggested changes were not implemented," said ASI Executive Director Peter Orwick. "The ASI Lamb Council has worked with the entire lamb business for four years, including an extensive analysis and report to develop updates to lamb price reporting. Conference calls and presentations were hosted throughout that period to bring companies, feeders and producers on board with recommendations to ensure an accurate and transparent lamb market report. We appreciate USDA Agricultural Marketing service providing the significant funding and time to seek industry comment, even though it didn't result in much change to reporting.

"The argument that a lambs-committed report would provide an advantage to lamb importing companies sounds odd," Orwick said. "That wasn't the case while the report was published from 2002 until 2008. The fact that the nation's freezers have been jammed to record-setting levels for probably 800 days straight would argue that importers don't care what level of lambs domestic plants have lined up."

The agency notice of the final rule is available at: http://sheepusa.org/IssuesPrograms_Issues_MandatoryPriceReporting .

Comments from the industry which affected the final rule can be read at: https://www.regulations.gov/docketBrowser?rpp=25&po=0&dct=PS&D=AMS-LPS-15-0070&refD=AMS-LPS-15-0070-0001