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HAY MAKER

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Errors mar cattle pricing system, agency reports

Knight Ridder News

The Billings Gazette

December 14, 2005



WASHINGTON - The federal government's mandatory system for reporting cattle prices, awaiting renewal by Congress, was plagued by inaccuracies, a watchdog agency reported this week.



The U.S. Government Accountability Office reported that more than half of the government's audits of meatpackers revealed inaccuracies, omissions or undocumented transactions, calling into question whether the reports fairly represented the market conditions that determine how much farmers receive for cattle.



"GAO found the accuracy of USDA's livestock market news reports is not fully assured," the agency said in the report, which was requested by Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, ranking Democrat on the Senate Agriculture Committee, and Sen. Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa. The GAO is the investigative arm of Congress.



Although the beef industry has been following the issue most closely, it affects dairy farmers as well because the sale of dairy animals is the second-biggest source of income on dairy farms, behind milk, economists say.



The report comes as mandatory price reporting lies in congressional limbo. The program expired in October; the House has called for a five-year extension, but Harkin and others in the Senate have called for a one-year extension while officials sort out issues related to accuracy and transparency.



"The Government Accountability Office report shows that we had some serious flaws in the mandatory price reporting law that needed to be changed," Grassley said in a statement. "I hope now we can take these suggestions and make improvements to the law that will ensure family farmers get a fair price."



GAO investigators found that of the 844 audits the USDA conducted of meatpackers during a three-year period, 64 percent had inaccuracies or missing information. And while the USDA said the number of inaccuracies was small for the amount of information collected, the GAO reported that the USDA also identified 46 instances with 22 meatpackers sending erroneous information that might affect the accuracy of the government's livestock market reports.



Some packers did not promptly fix problems identified by the USDA, the GAO found.



The GAO also reported that the USDA did not include all prices in its reports. In some cases, the report said, officials left out high and low prices that appeared to be aberrations but did not tell industry sources that some prices were omitted.



Among major recommendations, the GAO said the department should publicly report its audits of meatpackers and clarify its instructions to meatpackers who provide information for the market reports, if Congress agrees to extend the program.



Industry groups such as the National Cattlemen's Beef Association support the program. The association's vice president for government affairs, Jay Truitt, said questions about the program's accuracy should not hold up its extension in Congress. "No one has said we shouldn't extend it at all," he said.





billingsgazette.com
 
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Anonymous

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Old Timer,

You reading this?

Look what's happening with Mandatory price reporting and you think USDA could enforce "M"COOL based on just marking imported animals?

You want to trust packers to label beef accurately with "signed affidavits" as proof of where cattle were "Born, raised, and slaughtered?

This just goes to show how incredibly stupid "M"COOL, AS WRITTEN, is. "M"COOL, AS WRITTEN, is less enforceable than MPR.

This is the whole problem with "UNNECESSARY" government mandates.

The MPR law is irrelevant because voluntary pricing was working just fine and reporting price without knowing the value the price was based on is irrelevant information. Recording the value the price was based on would create less compliance yet. Typical of the end results of these "PLEASE GOVERNMENT, SAVE US FROM OURSELVES AGAIN", stupid government mandates.


~SH~
 

Econ101

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~SH~ said:
Old Timer,

You reading this?

Look what's happening with Mandatory price reporting and you think USDA could enforce "M"COOL based on just marking imported animals?

You want to trust packers to label beef accurately with "signed affidavits" as proof of where cattle were "Born, raised, and slaughtered?

This just goes to show how incredibly stupid "M"COOL, AS WRITTEN, is. "M"COOL, AS WRITTEN, is less enforceable than MPR.

This is the whole problem with "UNNECESSARY" government mandates.

The MPR law is irrelevant because voluntary pricing was working just fine and reporting price without knowing the value the price was based on is irrelevant information. Recording the value the price was based on would create less compliance yet. Typical of the end results of these "PLEASE GOVERNMENT, SAVE US FROM OURSELVES AGAIN", stupid government mandates.


~SH~

The AMS, the Packers and Stockyards Act, and a whole lot of other things are not being enforced now by the USDA, SH. They just give the "illusion" of enforcement so the scams can continue for the entrenched political campaign contributors to the houses of Congress and the Republican and to a lesser extent, the Democratic parties. We can never have any moral authority in the world with this kind crap so rampant in the U.S. Japan closed its borders on this premise. They did not trust the Secretary of Agriculture on his BSE "science".

Your "Save us from ourselves" saying is just what laws are for. They are to save the country from the illegal, unethical, and imoral business dealings of people in positions to do those things. I am sorry you have such disrespect for the law and so much "respect" for corrupt court rulings.
 
A

Anonymous

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The AMS, the Packers and Stockyards Act, and a whole lot of other things are not being enforced now by the USDA, SH. They just give the "illusion" of enforcement so the scams can continue for the entrenched political campaign contributors to the houses of Congress and the Republican and to a lesser extent, the Democratic parties. We can never have any moral authority in the world with this kind crap so rampant in the U.S. Japan closed its borders on this premise. They did not trust the Secretary of Agriculture on his BSE "science".

Your "Save us from ourselves" saying is just what laws are for. They are to save the country from the illegal, unethical, and imoral business dealings of people in positions to do those things. I am sorry you have such disrespect for the law and so much "respect" for corrupt court rulings.


BLAH, BLAH, BLAH!

Until you provide proof of these "SUPPOSED" illegal, unethical, and imoral business dealings, YOU GOT NOTHING!

PICKETT REVEALED NOTHING!

FORMER COURT CASES REVEALED NOTHING!

NUMEROUS GIPSA INVESTIGATIONS REVEALED NOTHING!

YOU CANNOT FIND WHAT ISN'T THERE TO FIND!


PUT UP OR SHUT UP!


Regardless how much you hate it, large corporations are not guilty until proven innocent just because they are large and successful.

Anti-corporate blamers like you are the biggest threat this industry faces.


~SH~
 

HAY MAKER

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~SH~ said:
The AMS, the Packers and Stockyards Act, and a whole lot of other things are not being enforced now by the USDA, SH. They just give the "illusion" of enforcement so the scams can continue for the entrenched political campaign contributors to the houses of Congress and the Republican and to a lesser extent, the Democratic parties. We can never have any moral authority in the world with this kind crap so rampant in the U.S. Japan closed its borders on this premise. They did not trust the Secretary of Agriculture on his BSE "science".

Your "Save us from ourselves" saying is just what laws are for. They are to save the country from the illegal, unethical, and imoral business dealings of people in positions to do those things. I am sorry you have such disrespect for the law and so much "respect" for corrupt court rulings.


BLAH, BLAH, BLAH!

Until you provide proof of these "SUPPOSED" illegal, unethical, and imoral business dealings, YOU GOT NOTHING!

PICKETT REVEALED NOTHING!

FORMER COURT CASES REVEALED NOTHING!

NUMEROUS GIPSA INVESTIGATIONS REVEALED NOTHING!

YOU CANNOT FIND WHAT ISN'T THERE TO FIND!


PUT UP OR SHUT UP!


Regardless how much you hate it, large corporations are not guilty until proven innocent just because they are large and successful.

Anti-corporate blamers like you are the biggest threat this industry faces.


~SH~

Well we agree on this one SH,thank God there are folks like econ101,that are a threat to the industry as we know it,
BECAUSE IT IS DAMN SURE CORRUPT..........................good luck
 

Econ101

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~SH~ said:
The AMS, the Packers and Stockyards Act, and a whole lot of other things are not being enforced now by the USDA, SH. They just give the "illusion" of enforcement so the scams can continue for the entrenched political campaign contributors to the houses of Congress and the Republican and to a lesser extent, the Democratic parties. We can never have any moral authority in the world with this kind crap so rampant in the U.S. Japan closed its borders on this premise. They did not trust the Secretary of Agriculture on his BSE "science".

Your "Save us from ourselves" saying is just what laws are for. They are to save the country from the illegal, unethical, and imoral business dealings of people in positions to do those things. I am sorry you have such disrespect for the law and so much "respect" for corrupt court rulings.


BLAH, BLAH, BLAH!

Until you provide proof of these "SUPPOSED" illegal, unethical, and imoral business dealings, YOU GOT NOTHING!

PICKETT REVEALED NOTHING!

FORMER COURT CASES REVEALED NOTHING!

NUMEROUS GIPSA INVESTIGATIONS REVEALED NOTHING!

YOU CANNOT FIND WHAT ISN'T THERE TO FIND!


PUT UP OR SHUT UP!


Regardless how much you hate it, large corporations are not guilty until proven innocent just because they are large and successful.

Anti-corporate blamers like you are the biggest threat this industry faces.


~SH~

GIPSA is so backwards they don't even understand the economic concepts of market power that they are there to prevent (some in the agency do but are stopped from doing anything for political reasons). GIPSA believes that the "right to contract" exceeds the economic protections of the PSA. That is a recipe for market power abuse. JoAnn Waterfield is a fraud.

Regardless how much you hate it, large corporations are not guilty until proven innocent just because they are large and successful.

I never said that. What I said was that when providing a defense in a court of law, if they don't do it to the jury's satisfaction, the jury has the right to find them guilty. In Pickett, they did.

Pickett asked Tyson for discovery evidence that would have exonerated Tyson but Tyson refused to provide that information. You claim Tyson can not lose a court case on this fact but you are just plain wrong. It happens all the time in courts with cases that are upheld.

The AMS and all of the manditory pricing information (which the GAO says the USDA is not implementing adequately) is all to try to get market information out to market participants other than juut the oligopsonists in the market. The USDA is showing they can not handle regulatory responsibility that Congress dictates. If the USDA can not do what it is required to do, why pay them? We could save a lot of money that people would not have to pay in taxes or borrow to run such an inefficient government agency.
 
A

Anonymous

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Hayboy: "Well we agree on this one SH,thank God there are folks like econ101,that are a threat to the industry as we know it,
BECAUSE IT IS DAMN SURE CORRUPT..........................good luck"

Good job! Another original thought!

Prove that this industry is corrupt Hayseed. Just because you want to believe it is corrupt does not make it corrupt.


~SH~
 

Mike

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ADM is certainly the nation's most arrogant welfare recipient. And it is one of the few welfare recipients that spend millions of dollars each year advertising on Sunday morning television shows populated and watched by politicians. Chairman Dwayne Andreas's and ADM's success in farming Washington represents the rational result of contemporary government policies that turn elections into "an advanced auction of stolen goods," as H. L. Mencken quipped. Thanks to its multi-million-dollar hustling in Washington, a company that lives and dies on the generosity of the American taxpayer has managed to get itself revered as a great public servant. Although ADM is not the only corporation with its hand out in Washington, it is easily one of the most successful beggars on the block.

Andreas recently told a reporter for Mother Jones, "There isn't one grain of anything in the world that is sold in a free market. Not one! The only place you see a free market is in the speeches of politicians. People who are not in the Midwest do not understand that this is a socialist country." Andreas's comment about "no free markets" is like the old joke about the son who murdered his parents and then asked for the court's mercy because he was an orphan. ADM champions political control over markets and then invokes that control as an excuse for its continued political manipulation. Andreas has exerted his influence in Washington to ensure that the U.S. form of "socialism" resembles 1930s' Italian corporate statism: the government plunders the citizenry for the benefit of politically connected corporations. And, though Andreas does not like to admit it, there are many markets in the world for agricultural products that are not controlled by politicians.

This past May ADM ran in major newspapers a full-page, full-color ad showing a corn cob decorated with the American flag with a picture of President John F. Kennedy along with Kennedy's most famous slogan, "Ask not what your country can do for you -- ask what you can do for your country." The advertisement is the ultimate Orwellian agit-prop exercise, the true message being, "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for ADM." Such misleading "public service" ad campaigns are the staple of ADM's public relations operation, providing the thin cover necessary to plunder the public till.

CATO INSTITUTE
 

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