U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service released its second USDA Market News report covering grass fed beef yesterday. This is the first report of its kind, filling a significant data gap for the industry and increasing transparency in the marketplace.
For almost a century, USDA Market News has provided farmers, ranchers and businesses with market and pricing information. Over the years, our reports have evolved to better meet the changing demands and needs of stakeholders who rely on our data to remain competitive.
Earlier this year, the Wallace Center, an organization that is helping to build a healthy, sustainable, and economically-strong food system, approached USDA about creating the grass fed beef report. The Wallace Center’s Pasture Project focuses on improving water quality in the Mississippi River Watershed by reducing agricultural impact from nearby farmers and ranchers and addressing barriers that limit the expansion of grass-based production systems in the Midwest. With the new market report and better access to information, USDA is helping farmers and ranchers who are considering converting to grass fed operations and those who are already producing grass fed beef.
The first monthly grass fed report was issued on Monday, September 23, 2013. In addition to market commentary, the new report includes three sections: prices paid for live cattle, wholesale beef prices, and direct-market beef prices. This monthly report brings market clarity and exposure to assist the grass fed industry in marketing their products. In the future, as the number of market reporting participants grows, USDA will continue to expand the report by including trade volume data, and adding graphs and other visuals.
USDA is committed to supporting businesses of all sizes. Fostering marketplace transparency is just one of the many ways we meet this goal. In order for the report to be a reflection of current industry conditions, we encourage anyone involved in grass fed beef production to help support these new reports by volunteering information and production data to the USDA Market News office in Iowa at (515) 284-4460.