FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 6, 2001
NEW PRICE REPORTING RULE THREATENS SMALL PACKERS
OAKLAND, CA – AMS called a meeting to discuss a report made by USDA's Chief Economist to Secretary Veneman on Monday, July 2, about Mandatory Price Reporting (MPR). The meeting was held at USDA on the afternoon of July 3 and was attended by many staff of Representatives and Senators who have been particularly interested in MPR and by Congressional Agriculture Committee staffers, along with industry representatives including NMA Executive Director Rosemary Mucklow.
Mucklow wrote July 5 to Secretary Veneman to warn “that this new guideline will make small and medium-sized packers vulnerable to their competitors and that it will violate the First Amendment to the United States Constitution by disclosing information about a single firm when that disclosure is not only contrary to the firm’s interest but also not in the public’s interest.”
AMS’s Revised Confidentiality Guidelines, the so-called 3/7/20 rule, state the following
· For each type of report (national or regional), at least 3 companies would have to submit data 50 percent of the time or more over a 60-day period.
· No one company can account for 70 percent or more of cumulative market volume for any individual report over a 60-day period.
· In cases where only one company submits data for individual reports, the same company can not be the sole reporting entity more than 20 percent of the time during a 60-day period.
“The Department has provided no commentary about how this new guideline meets the Department’s commitment to discourage further concentration among meat packers and its Constitutional obligations with regards to compelled speech under the First Amendment,” wrote Mucklow in her letter.
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.