Accurate and transparent market information is critical for producers when selling and buying livestock. Accordingly, accuracy and transparency were among the reasons cited for passage of the Livestock Mandatory Reporting Act (LMR) in 1999. Under the Act, packers and importers submit information on purchases and sales of livestock and livestock products to the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS). The AMS issues over 300 market reports each week with prices, contracting agreements, and supply and demand conditions using the information submitted.
To improve access to market information submitted under the LMR, the AMS recently announced the launching of a new data visualization tool, the Livestock Auction Dashboard. The dashboard will provide market information for cattle, sheep, and goats. Filters will allow users to see information from different markets, commodities, and timeframes. For example, users can filter data by date, state, market type, or report title. An example of the data visualization available on the website is shown in Figure 3. It maps the rolling two-week average price for feeder cattle (steers) weighing 550-750 lbs by state. Note the highest average price for the period was reported in Nebraska.
FIGURE 3. USDA LIVESTOCK AUCTION DASHBOARD
Source: USDA, Agricultural Marketing Service