Democrat and Republican senators have come together to support the Livestock Mandatory Reporting Act of 1999. Specifically, Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) chairman of the Senate's committee on agriculture, nutrition and forestry, urged USDA to move on the rulemaking process that would carry out the a livestock-price-reporting rule.
Congress passed the bill last year that would reauthorize the law. However, USDA has to issue a final rule. Until then, packers' price-reporting efforts will remain voluntary.
The mandatory price-reporting act requires packers, processors and importers to provide price, market contract, supply and demand information to USDA. The data is then used to create price reports for livestock producers.
The senators also sent a letter to USDA Secretary Mike Johanns, to press the agency into implementing Government Accountability Office recommendations that would "improve transparency, operation and function of the reporting program." said the letter. The GAO report was commissioned upon Harkin's request, and the findings were released it in December 2005.