ASI Participates in USDA's Livestock Reporting Meeting
December 2, 2016

On Nov. 15-16, American Sheep Industry Association Secretary-Treasurer Benny Cox, along with Erica Sanko, executive director of the California Wool Growers Assocation, and Paul Rodgers, ASI Deputy Director of Policy, participated in a meeting hosted by USDA's Agriculture Marketing Service to bring the cattle, swine and sheep sectors together to discuss the kinds of changes that might be needed in Livestock Mandatory Reporting. USDA is required by Congress to produce a report in 2018, ahead of the next scheduled reauthorization of LMR, describing USDA's recommendations on the implementation of the statute as the livestock and meat industries continue to change and become more consolidated.

Cox addressed the group by stating, "ASI appreciates the opportunity to continue discussions with USDA/AMS on improving Livestock Mandatory Reporting for lamb to better, and more appropriately, reflect the current industry structure. Transparency in pricing should be everyone's goal. Price reporting systems cannot, and should not, be so inflexible and intractable that in a dynamic marketplace those systems are rendered ineffectual. As it now stands, due to USDA/AMS' interpretation of the LMR statute and regulations, LMR for lamb reporting, especially direct live and carcass sales, are essentially non-existent. The agency's one-size-fits-all confidentiality guidelines and prejudice against cooperatives have negated the intent of the statute for lamb price reporting. It will be difficult for ASI to support a report to Congress as an outcome of this process unless these issues are addressed effectively so that reporting becomes a reality."

Cox went on to urge USDA/AMS to conduct some basic research into how to achieve protecting the confidentiality of the firms that are reporting, as stated in the statute, yet not be bound by current or previous confidentiality guidelines in the research effort.

The meeting was attended by 13 national livestock and meat industry organizations.