March 15, 2004
Mar/Apr 2004 -- The current law that requires mandatory reporting of livestock, the Livestock Mandatory Reporting Act of 1999, expires in October 2004, which means Congress must address the issue to keep the Act -- and its regulations -- in place.
"Congress has the option to extend the Act or to make it a permanent law," reported John E. Van Dyke, chief of Livestock and Grain Market News for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Marketing Service. "We prefer that it not be extended with the original provisions, as we feel there are modifications that could be made to improve the value of the information."
While the Act does not contain specific sheep and lamb provisions, sheep- and lamb-reporting regulations will be addressed at the same time regulations are revised for cattle and hogs. One of the proposed changes USDA/AMS has identified involves modifying the department's definitions of 'negotiated' and 'formula,' so that lambs purchased on a grid program would be classified as a 'negotiated' purchase rather than a 'formula' purchase.
The department also is looking at methods for the reporting of lambs sold through cooperatives.
"We are looking at this from a voluntary reporting program basis due to the number of people involved," said Van Dyke. "Current regulations do not require packers to report carcass purchases."
The department currently is revising the definition for carlot sales of boxed lamb cuts to include information on all products for sales of 1,000 lbs. or more of lamb going to one buyer. In addition, the department is proposing that the reporting volume be reduced from 5,000 metric tons to 2,500 metric tons for importers who are required to report their domestic sales of imported boxed lamb cuts.
"I'm trying to visit with as many industry people as I can regarding possible changes," added Van Dyke, "Anytime, anyplace, I'm sitting down and visiting with people, reviewing what we have and where we need to go."