Livestock Watchdog Tracking Virus-Skewed Markets “With A Fine-Tooth Comb” – DTN

    Cattle feed lot. Photo: K-State Research and Extension - Creative Commons

    The Commodity Futures Trading Commission has been quietly increasing its monitoring of the livestock markets, CFTC Chairman Heath Tarbert stated.

    “Agriculture, like so many sectors of the U.S. economy, is facing an unprecedented challenge at the hand of the coronavirus,” Tarbert said in an email to DTN.

    “This challenge has been exacerbated by the difficult farm economy over the past several years, which is why it’s of the utmost importance we gather leading industry voices to gain further insight into COVID-19’s impact on the markets we regulate.

    “The CFTC’s Livestock Market Task Force is monitoring activity around major, market-moving events, and will continue engaging experts, regulators, and market participants. Ensuring our markets are working for American agriculture is critical to fulfilling the CFTC’s mission during these challenging times.”

    House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson, D-Minn., recently asked Tarbert to investigate the drop in cattle markets amid high retail meat prices.

    A CFTC spokesperson said that the commission’s senior economists and divisions of market oversight and enforcement are looking at the markets “with a finer-tooth comb,” trying to “identify trading activity that might violate the Commodity Exchange Act” or regulations and then pursue enforcement.

    The CFTC Agricultural Advisory Committee is expected to meet Wednesday, although it has not been officially announced. A CFTC spokesperson that there would usually be announced two weeks in advance, but that the commission is currently in “emergency activation procedures.”

    The spokesperson said the meeting will be virtual and will be open to the public.

    Commodity Futures Trading Commission: Agricultural Advisory Committee: here.

    Jerry Hagstrom can be reached at

    Follow him on Twitter @hagstromreport

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