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POLICY WATCH

Fischer Introduces Cattle Market Transparency Act

Sen. Deb Fischer has reintroduced the Cattle Market Transparency Act. The bill seeks four main areas of reform including: 

  1. Establishing regional mandatory minimum thresholds of negotiated cash and negotiated grid trades to enable price discovery in cattle marketing regions. It will require the Secretary of Agriculture, in consultation with the Chief Economist, to establish regionally sufficient levels of negotiated cash and negotiated grid trade, seek public comment on those levels, then implement. 
  2. Requiring USDA to create and maintain a publicly available library of marketing contracts between packers and producers in a manner that ensures confidentiality. 
  3. Mandating that a packer report to USDA of the number of cattle scheduled to be delivered for slaughter each day for the next 14 days and require USDA to report this information on a daily basis. 
  4. Prohibiting the USDA from using confidentiality as a justification for not reporting and makes clear that USDA must report all LMR information, and they must do so in a manner that ensures confidentiality. 

Given the changes made to American Farm Bureau policy, changes that largely came from the work of Nebraska Farm Bureau’s Cattle Markets Task Force and voting delegates, both NEFB and AFBF are supporting the bill. To view more information on this important piece of legislation, please click here.   

NEFB Supports Education Funding Reform Proposal

Nebraska Farm Bureau testified this week before the Legislature’s Education Committee, offering support for a proposed constitutional amendment targeted to reducing the reliance on property taxes to fund public education. Sen. Tom Briese of Albion introduced LR 21CA. The measure would require the state to pay all classroom expenses related to the operation of public elementary and secondary schools. In supportive testimony, Nebraska Farm Bureau pointed out that the proposal would be a positive step forward in forcing the Legislature to rebalance education funding to reduce the overreliance on property taxes.  

30×30 Executive Order Leads to More Questions Than Answers

One of the many Executive Orders (EO) signed by President Biden in the early days of his presidency, charged the Department of the Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, and the Chair of the Council of Environmental Quality to make good on the president’s commitment to conserve at least 30 percent of land and water by the year 2030. Over the past several days, Farm Bureau has received questions from members asking where the organization stands on the EO. Given the lack of information, that’s not a simple answer. In three short paragraphs (found in Sec. 216 of the document linked here), President Biden presented few details on how this goal would be achieved other than to say the listed and other appropriate agencies shall submit a report within 90 days after taking input from key stakeholders. Given the EO was signed on January 27, the deadline for the report’s submission would be April 27. It’s unclear if the idea would require the acquisition of new federal land, ask more private land to be enrolled in Title II Farm Bill programs, only apply to existing federal lands, etc. The American Farm Bureau is actively engaged with the new administration, but to date, little to nothing has been said about this EO. Farm Bureau will continue to monitor the situation and be prepared to act if the EO calls for the expansion of federal control or ownership of private land.

Former Undersecretary Ibach Joins UNL

Former U.S. Department of Agricultural Undersecretary Greg Ibach has joined the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s (UNL) Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources (IANR) as the institute’s inaugural Undersecretary in Residence. In his new role with IANR, Ibach will help advance the institute in areas including agricultural biotechnology policy, agricultural-biosecurity, workforce training and the partnership between the National Institute of Antimicrobial Resistance Research Education (NIAMRRE) and APHIS, among other areas. He may also engage UNL learners interested in public service, the importance of public and private partnerships, and science-informed policy.

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