Monday afternoon the House passed H.R. 2051, a bill to reauthorize the Mandatory Price Reporting Act, the United States Grain Standards Act, and the National Forest Foundation Act. The Mandatory Price Reporting Act and the Grain Standards Act authorities were set to expire on Wednesday.
Legislative language to reauthorize each of these was introduced, reported by the House Agriculture Committee, and passed by the House on voice vote as standalone measures on June 9. The Senate passed the bill Sept. 21 and sent it back to the House. It now awaits the President’s signature.
“We cleared the final hurdle today,” said Senate Agriculture Committee chairman Pat Roberts (R, Kan.). “Reauthorizing three programs in one bipartisan bill is no small feat, but when our agriculture producers ask for certainty and transparency, that’s what they’ll get.”
House Agriculture Committee chairman Mike Conaway (R., Texas) thanked his colleagues for getting the work done before the bills expired. “H.R. 2051 represents a bipartisan package and the collaborative work of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees and I am proud to support this legislation,” Conaway said. “These bipartisan bills will provide certainty for farmers and ranchers and prevent devastating impacts on our nation’s meat industries and grain exporters.”
Mandatory Price Reporting requires meat packers to report to USDA the prices they pay for cattle, hogs and sheep purchased from farmers and ranchers for slaughter, as well as the prices they receive for the sale of wholesale beef, pork and lamb. Mandatory Price Reporting also requires USDA to issue daily, weekly and monthly livestock and meat market reports.
National Cattlemen’s Beef Assn. president Philip Ellis, criticized Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D., Mich.) for not feeling the legislation warranted an “essential government service” designation, which would prevent the price reporting from stopping during a government shutdown as it did two years ago. “Had the senator acted in accord with the original provisions in the House bill, we could have been assured price information would not be subject to political whim,” Ellis said.
During a floor speech in favor of the bill, House Agriculture Committee ranking member Collin Peterson (D., Minn.) said the U.S. Grain Standards Reauthorization Act will allow the Federal Grain Inspection Service to continue official weighing and inspection services. “Both grain buyers and sellers rely on a ‘gold standard’ quality assurance, backed by the federal government, when conducting business,” Peterson said.