Mandatory reporting of livestock sales began Monday, April 2nd. In the past, all market news has been reported to USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service on a voluntary basis.

The mandatory program requires the reporting of market information by packers who annually slaughter an average of 125,000 cattle or 100,000 swine, or slaughter or process an average of 75,000 lambs. Importers who annually import an average of 5,000 metric tons of lamb meat products are also required to report. Mandatory reporting will provide information on 80 to 95 percent of the volume of all cattle, boxed beef, slaughter hogs, sheep, lamb meat and imported lamb meat traded.

Packers and importers are required to report to USDA the details of all transactions involving purchases of livestock and imported boxed lamb cuts, and the details of all transactions involving domestic and export sales of boxed beef cuts, sales of domestic and imported boxed lamb cuts, and sales of lamb carcasses.

Market news reports that will be new under mandatory reporting include reports covering the prior day swine market; forward contract and formula marketing arrangement cattle purchases; packer-owned cattle and sheep information; sales and purchases of imported boxed lamb cuts; and live lamb premiums and discounts.

Since Feb. 26, AMS has been testing the electronic data collection and dissemination system prior to implementation with those packers and importers required to report.