October 20, 2006
October 20, 2006 -- This week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) notified the nation's livestock and meat associations that formal rulemaking is underway to reinitiate the mandatory livestock price reporting system. President Bush signed the legislation to reauthorize the Livestock Mandatory Reporting Act (MPR) on Oct. 5, 2006; however, the agency believes it must provide the rulemaking process again, prior to mandatory collection of information. The statutory authority for MPR had a lapse of more than a year while Congress attempted to reconcile the Senate-passed legislation which included considerable changes with the straightforward extension of the U.S. House version, which was recently approved by both bodies.
Peter Orwick, executive director of the American Sheep Industry Association (ASI), relayed the indication from AMS that the lapse in authorization also ended the regulatory authority.
"It is disappointing that missing lamb-price reports will not be available in the near term due to rulemaking. We urge the department to move as rapidly as possible with implementation of the mandatory program.
"We expect the department will provide an estimated length of time they would like to do the paperwork and implement the system," added Orwick. "In the mean time, we operate with the voluntary compliance of reporting as has been the case for nearly 13 months.
"Unfortunately, we only have a portion of wholesale lamb-cut price reports and no retail lamb-cut reporting. Our industry is anxious to secure the imported lamb-price reporting which has been absent due to the refusal of importers to voluntarily cooperate. This is not an equitable situation as cooperating domestic lamb companies incur the expenses of reporting while importers do not," concluded Orwick.
ASI will continue efforts with USDA to re-implement retail-price reporting given Secretary Johanns' commitment this summer to initiate the retail meat series when Congress reauthorized MPR. Staff contact: Peter Orwick ex 33