A new and improved Mandatory Reporting Act of 1999 was sent to the White House for the President’s signature after the Senate passed the measure last week. The Act requires buyers and sellers of livestock to report all transactions to USDA in a timely manner.

The Senate approved the measure by unanimous consent after consideration by the Senate Agriculture Committee, according to a Senate report. The House passed an identical bill a year ago.

Responding to various criticisms of the original bill, the new version makes a few changes:

  • Adding more sows to the pricing reports to more accurately reflect the sales and prices paid in the sow market.
  • Changing the timing for data reporting to help USDA with its workload and, thus, increase report accuracy and efficiency.
  • Allowing USDA to publish price distributions for net prices to provide more useful information than is currently provided by the price ranges specified in the law while maintaining the current confidentiality requirements.

The measure was passed out of the Senate Agriculture Committee a year ago, but was held up by Iowa Senators Tom Harkin, (D), and Charles Grassley, (R), for a General Accounting Office study to determine the transparency of the 1999 Act. The GAO completed the study in December.