The USDA continues to lay the foundation for more and better markets with the launch of the Livestock Pilot Contract Library

Washington, January 31, 2023 – The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) launched the Trial Cattle Contract Library today at noon ET on the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) Cattle Contract Library webpage. The Uniform Appropriations Act of 2022 directed the USDA to create a pilot library to increase market transparency for livestock producers. This pilot library will provide new disclosure to the industry and the public regarding the key terms, conditions and volumes under which cattle are contracted, bringing sunshine to the practices in the now bulk of the cattle market. This will enable livestock producers to negotiate better terms, monitor risks related to marketing preferences and pricing practices more carefully, and make better use of market opportunities to produce the livestock that the market demands.

“The USDA is committed to creating a more level playing field for livestock producers and a more balanced and fairer economy for everyone in food and agriculture,” said Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. “The Livestock Contract Library Pilot Program supports this commitment by providing producers with the market information they need to make informed production, marketing and business decisions.”

“With this pilot in the Cattle Contract Library, America’s ranchers will enjoy an exciting new window of market opportunities and trends in cattle contracts, one of the most critical segments of the cattle market,” said Jenny Lester Moffitt, USDA Undersecretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs. Transparency is the foundation of fair and competitive markets and is essential for producers seeking to develop economic opportunity. As we continue to lay the foundation for more and better markets, USDA looks forward to working with all stakeholders and Congress to enable this experimental library to deliver meaningful and lasting value to producers.”

The library will have the same look and feel as the working library model was developed and shared with stakeholders last year, but will now be infused with information from existing contracts. Packers who slaughtered an average of at least five percent of the number of cows fed and slaughtered nationwide during the immediately preceding five calendar years were required to provide this information to AMS, as described in the final rule published December 7, 2022. This became effective January 6, 2023.

The initial release of the library will allow users to browse through a range of terms and information contained in active contracts used to purchase feedstock. In addition to the active contracts in use, the library will provide information on the most common terms in cattle contracts, such as base price determination, base price adjustments and sell basis options; Contract specifications for things like quality, yield, breed, weight, delivery, financing, profit/risk sharing, and more (where found in the contract); and the full set of premiums and discounts used to determine the final price.

Upcoming improvements to the library will display information on the number of cattle moving during current contracts specified by the contract’s base price source, including actual numbers for the previous month and estimates for the current month. In addition, size information by contract specification for quality, breed, weight, source verification, etc. will provide users with information on how often each specification is used. During the trial period, AMS expects to further enhance transparency through additional reports and features as they are developed, with confidentiality in mind.

With the library, producers will be able to see a more complete picture of marketing practices and trends, including upcoming volumes. This transparency will enable producers to take advantage of new economic opportunities, improve their marketing strategies, and manage risks related to contractual terms including the pricing references on which they rely. AMS will be holding a series of meetings and webinars in the coming weeks and months to help stakeholders understand how to use the experimental library. The first webinar is scheduled for February 8, 2023 at 11:00 AM ET. Details about this webinar and all other information regarding the pilot can be found at

Under the Biden-Harris Administration, the USDA is transforming the American food system with a greater focus on more resilient domestic and regional food production, promoting fairer competition and markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy, nutritious food in all communities, and building new markets and flows Income for farmers and producers who use climate-smart food and forestry practices, make historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and commit to equality across governance by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce that is more representative of America. To find out more, visit

For questions or to request additional information, please contact Michael Sheets, director of Livestock, Poultry and Grain Market News, at 202-690-3145 or


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