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Price reporting, livestock markets, cattle producers


The ability of the former federal voluntary price reporting system to facilitate market efficiency in the cash markets for U.S. livestock was questioned by producer groups and academic researchers prior to implementation of federal mandatory price reporting regulations. In the cash market for slaughter cattle, concerns raised in the literature centered on the effect of thinning cash markets and strategic price reporting behavior on the robustness of voluntary cash price reports issued by the USDA-Agricultural Marketing Services. A theoretical framework is developed describing the interregional spatial linkages between cash markets and price reporting regimes (mandatory versus voluntary). Data from South Dakota and Nebraska cash markets for live cattle are used to test if the conditions necessary for interregional price transparency did exist prior to implementation of federal price reporting regulations. A set of testable hypotheses, based on the theoretical framework, is developed to test if the concerns raised in the literature about the voluntary price reporting system can be empirically verified. The empirical results do not support the literature’s proposition that the voluntary price reporting system for live cattle failed to provide timely and accurate market price information to the cash market prior to the implementation of the federal mandatory price reporting system in South Dakota and Nebraska. Furthermore, empirical evidence does not support the supposition that a thinning cash market or strategic price reporting had a significant negative effect on the AMS voluntary price reporting system’s accuracy or timely transmission of price information. Therefore, we conclude that the AMS voluntary price reporting system provided price transparency for South Dakota and Nebraska producers selling in the cash market and contributed to the price discovery process.


Department of Economics, South Dakota State University

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