Mandatory price reporting
Currently, packers and processors are not required to report the prices they pay for the animals they buy from producers or the terms of sale. Rather, daily sales and price information is collected by AMS from companies on a voluntary basis. AMS reporters also attend live cash market sales (auctions) to collect price information. However, as more and more animals are sold under formula pricing, other contract, or captive supply arrangements, the open cash markets have become less helpful as benchmarks of prices being paid. Some producers believe that such arrangements also enable packers to more easily conceal potential anti-competitive practices, and argue that more transparency (i.e., more readily and widely available price and sales information) is needed in livestock markets. This has led to various legislative proposals for mandatory price reporting. Although the proposals have differed, most essentially would require packers to report, immediately and publicly, the prices they paid for animals, and the terms of the sale.