The National Pork Producers Council on Tuesday urged U.S. President Barack Obama to quickly sign legislation to reauthorize mandatory livestock price reporting before the statute expires on Wednesday.
The law, which comes up for renewal every five years, requires meat packers to report to the U.S. Department of Agriculture how much they pay for cattle, hogs and lambs, along with other detailed information.
USDA publishes twice-daily reports that include prices, supply/demand and livestock product statistics.
The U.S. House of Representatives approved the reauthorization on Monday.
The U.S. pork group's call for reapproval of price reporting comes amid a threatened shutdown of the federal government. The 16-day shutdown in 2013 left the livestock industry scrambling for alternative means of information.
"The fact that this is getting done now doesn't really have anything to do with whether there is or isn't going to be a government shutdown," said NPPC spokesman Dave Warner. "It needed to be reauthorized because the five-year authorization was ending at midnight tomorrow."
Technically, the USDA could stop publishing prices and other data once the law is no longer in effect after midnight on Wednesday, which is the end of the fiscal year, said Warner. But he added, "I don't think that would happen."
He said additional funds would be available after the end of the fiscal year, but NPPC would prefer the measure be approved so that it does not lapse.
"The fact that it has been approved in the past, we're confident that even if he didn't sign it until Friday, or even next week, it would be no problem," Warner said, referring to Obama.
The Livestock Mandatory Reporting Act of 1999 changed what was once a voluntary price reporting system.