As part of the 1999 mandatory price reporting act, USDA's Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) has published a proposed rule on its portion of the regulations.

The act requires GIPSA to publish monthly reports on the types of contracts available to livestock producers. The agency also will maintain a library of existing contracts, including ones with provisions to expand the number of committed animals.

The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) registered comments on the rules before the Oct. 5 deadline.

Producer access is the key to establishing such a library of contracts, according to Steve Meyer, NPPC director of economics.

"We urged them to offer a very active outreach to producers about this library," he says. "This access will tell producers what is available in the marketplace."

Another key to the regulations will be GIPSA's estimates of the hogs committed to packers for the coming six- to 12-month periods. Those figures will help producers take advantage of short-term marketing opportunities, Meyer says.

The library will be on GIPSA's Web site at www.usda.gov/gipsa.