Reporting of pork prices to USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service was voluntary prior to the signing of a new law by President Obama.
"We only get information on the negotiated cash transactions," said Warren Preston of AMS. "That's through cooperation where our market news reporters in the field are contacting the packers in the industry and the buyers finding out what volumes are being traded, qualities and prices."
Preston says there will be some changes now that price reporting will be mandatory.
"Under the mandatory system we'll have to go through the negotiated rulemaking process and the law tells us some of the interested parties that we need to bring to the table," Preston said. "They'll actually work with us to develop the proposed rule."
Preston expects that the new mandatory pork reporting program will be similar to its beef counterpart where packers would be required to report their transaction level sales to AMS.
The new law also requires the setup of an electronic reporting system for the current mandatory reporting program for dairy products and includes the weekly reporting of export pork sales.
"The core component here is to provide information to the marketplace," Preston said. "So that everybody knows what's happening and it give transparency to the market."