Rep. Earl Pomeroy (D-ND) this week introduced legislation (H.R. 4257) that would prohibit the use of forward contracts and formula pricing in the livestock sector. Reps. Barbara Cubin (R-WY) and Stephanie Herseth (D-SD) also co-sponsored the bill that could expose producers to greater price risk and market volatility.

The bill would amend the Packer and Stockyards Act to outlaw “formula price” and “forward contract,” as defined by the bill. Formula price would mean “any price term that establishes a base from which a purchase price is calculated on the basis of a price that will not be determined or reported until a date after the day the forward price is established.” A forward contract would be defined as an “oral or written contract for the purchase of livestock that provides for the delivery of the livestock to a packer at a date that is more than 7 days after the date on which the contract is entered into ….”

AMI, which opposes the bill, noted that while the bills' intention is to "prohibit the use of certain anti-competitive forward contracts," it disregards that many producers and processors jointly enter into contracting and marketing agreements to limit exposure to market volatility, access capital, and implement value-added business practices. Marketing agreements and contracting often provide the means to access capital for young producers often to enter farming and ranching.

You can read the text language for H.R. 4257 at:
http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgibin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=109_cong_bills&docid=f:h4257ih.txt.pdf

American Meat Institute