“Mandatory” is something of a four-letter word in the cattle business, and recognizing that, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association leaders have rolled out a plan to improve the industry’s price discovery process on a voluntary basis for producers and processors. The plan would encourage more price negotiation between packers and producers, often meaning the former will pay the latter prices more reflective of the local cash market. The plan is voluntary for more reasons than just industry optics; making it voluntary will mean the plan won’t likely be subject to regulatory intervention like a mandatory program. A U.S. Department of Justice probe into pricing practices by the “Big Four” packers. See more on the plan.