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USDA Brings Better Data to Market

Posted by Michael Lynch, Director, AMS Livestock, Poultry, and Grain Market News in Farming Technology
Apr 03, 2018
Cattle and beef industry members sharing their feedback on the LMR program
Cattle and beef industry members share their feedback on the LMR program during a stakeholder meeting in Washington, D.C, in February 2017.

Whether you’re a cattle producer, a pork processor, or a lamb feeder, reliable and timely market information is key to navigating the agricultural marketplace. Producers and businesses across America look to USDA Market News, part of USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), as the source for unbiased market data.

A component of Market News is the Livestock Mandatory Reporting (LMR) Program, which provides transparent price and volume data for cattle, swine, sheep, boxed beef, lamb, and wholesale pork. The program must be reauthorized by Congress every 5 years and is up for reauthorization in 2020.

To help inform the next reauthorization, AMS brought together a diverse group of stakeholders in a series of meetings to study the marketing methods and current challenges with reporting livestock and meat markets. Through an open forum, we identified – and in many cases implemented – recommendations to strengthen the program and provide the livestock and meat industry with more robust market data.

Working with the cattle industry, we developed a new Weekly Fed Cattle Comprehensive Report that combines all purchase information into a weekly price series. The cattle industry has seen a significant shift from negotiated transactions to alternative marketing arrangements. This report reflects this trend by providing stakeholders a more complete picture of the cattle market in one convenient report.

Based on pork producers’ input and feedback from the swine industry as a whole, we developed new reporting guidance to enhance the transparency of the purchase type categories published on our swine reports. We also expanded swine premium price reporting and enhanced the pork cutout to better reflect current industry practices and trends.

To provide the lamb industry with more data, AMS enhanced the National Weekly Slaughter Sheep Review Report, making it possible to publish formula purchase price information more frequently. This change alone gave lamb producers access to Livestock Risk Protection (LRP) insurance that utilizes the weekly formula information to determine coverage amounts. We also added a new comprehensive section to the report, and later enhanced the report to include cooperative member transactions in the appropriate purchase type categories.

Our stakeholders also suggested a small number of legislative and regulatory changes to the program for us and for Congress to consider. Information gathered from these meetings is the basis for the Report to Congress, and USDA looks forward to continuing to improve LMR to meet the needs of all stakeholders.

These improvements from USDA Market News are just one way we are making USDA the most effective, efficient, and customer-focused department in the federal government. For more information, visit the LMR Stakeholder Meeting webpage. You can also subscribe to receive Market News updates.

Category/Topic: Farming Technology

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