Cattle producers soon will be able to make better-informed business decisions as mandatory price reporting paves the way for increased access to cattle marketing information, the National Cattlemen's Beef Association said.

"Mandatory price reporting will be a realization of a long-standing goal to improve the quantity and quality and timelines of market information," said George Hall, Mustang, OK, NCBA president.

Hall made the comment in response to the U.S. department of Agriculture's mandatory price reporting rule. The USDA, after publishing a proposed rule and offering a one-month comment period, is in the final stages of implementing mandatory price reporting. The department anticipates implementation by mid-summer.

"Since we began working with a broad coalition to help draft this legislation, we have said the end result will be that cattle producers can look forward to more information on which to base their business decisions," Hall said. "The rule will ensure that packers-processors provide information regarding the different sales and types of cattle as soon as it is available."

While mandatory price reporting makes more market information accessible, it is important that USDA publish the daily, weekly and other reports in a format that is easy to use and understand, Hall added.

NCBA has concerns regarding parts of the proposed boxed beef reporting requirements. The proposal strays from the intent of the legislation and could harm small- and medium-sized packers. NCBA suggested changes that will reduce the economic impact of reporting and shield against anticompetitive practices. NCBA also encouraged USDA to move to regional, state or other subcategories of price reports where possible.

"We expect mandatory price reporting legislation to eliminate partial and selective reporting of fed cattle and boxed beef transactions," Hall said. "We do not want the process to result in less information in any category than is available under the current voluntary system. The proposed regulations have the potential for improving the completeness of cattle and boxed beef price information for all market participants."

The separate comment period for export reporting closed May 1. The proposed export-reporting rule requires meat exporters to report volume for all fresh and frozen beef and pork. NCBA also will submit comments on that proposed rule. Full implementation of mandatory price reporting is expected some time this summer.

To view NCBA's comments on the proposed price-reporting rule, visit

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