July 29, 1999


OAKLAND, CA NMA is taking action to oppose today's legislative amendment to the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946. The legislation was reported out earlier in the day by the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry. The bill establishes a program of mandatory market reporting for the prices, quantities, and terms of sale for the procurement of domestic cattle, swine, lambs, and products of such livestock.

No other free market industry in the United States is required to report its cost of goods sold and its sales, by quantity and price, on a twice daily basis, to a government agency. If the legislation becomes law it will be an unprecedented intrusion in the propriety business affairs of the meat industry.

"This is simply unconscionable," commented NMA Executive Director Rosemary Mucklow. "As written, the bill is a complicated layer of heavy government regulation on the meat packing and processing industry which will increase the regulatory burden on the industry tremendously and which there is no comparable costly burden on poultry."

The bill embodies mandatory reporting obligations for packers slaughtering more than 125,000 cattle or 100,000 hogs annually. It seeks reporting by electronic means twice daily. It provides for civil penalties of $10,000 per willful violation. It lays forth a bewildering array of categories to be reported, by grade, and requires volume reporting. It sets criteria to gather information from regional firms. It provides assurance to protect confidentiality of any individual firm reporting. It also provides for the reporting of boxed beef to an outrageous degree. The members of National Meat Association have been strong supporters of the voluntary USDA Market News Program and are unalterably opposed to the mandatory requirements.

National Meat Association is a non-profit trade association representing meat packers and processors, as well as equipment manufacturers and suppliers who provide services to the meat industry. The association, with over 600 members throughout the United States, includes membership in Canada, Australia and Mexico.