Tyson to use private data to price hogs during U.S. shutdown


By Alyce Hinton

CHICAGO, Oct 4 (Reuters) - Top U.S. meat packer Tyson FoodsInc told hog producers that it had developed analternative formula to determine the price it pays for hogssince U.S. Department of Agriculture's market prices have beensuspended due to the government shutdown on Oct. 1.

Tyson, which uses data from the USDA's AgriculturalMarketing Service to determine the cash value for hogs, said ina letter late Thursday that it would now use price data fromUrner Barry - a U.S. analytical research firm closely followedby livestock packers and traders for its meat prices and data -until USDA-AMS price data is available.

"This method will be used beginning with market hogdeliveries on Monday, Oct. 7," Tyson said in its letter to hogsuppliers.

Once the USDA begins providing the necessary market reportsto determine prices, Tyson will revert back to its originalpricing formula, it added.

U.S. livestock markets are reeling from this week'sdisruption of USDA data as packers, producers and traders counton daily slaughter, wholesale pork and beef prices to calculatelivestock prices. Those market reports were pulled along withthousands of others that the agricultural industry counts on toprice commodities.

Top pork producer Smithfield told hog producers earlier thisweek that it was adjusting how it was pricing hogs until thefederal government reopened. On Wednesday, U.S. futures operatorCME Group Inc suspended its lean hog and feeder cattleprice indexes, both of which are based on USDA price data todetermine final livestock settlement values.

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