The Roundup -

A Steak In Ag

A monthly report by R-CALF USA

 


R-CALF USA may be defined as a non-profit producer organization, but our work benefits anyone who eats meat and lives in an economy that includes agriculture. We’re more than a producer organization; we’re your organization.

In a recent letter to President Barack Obama, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, and U.S. Trade Ambassador Michael Froman, R-CALF USA stated the U.S. has a new and unique opportunity to persuade Canada’s newly elected Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, to cease Canada’s saber rattling against the U.S. mandatory Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL) law.

There are many country-to-country issues and matters the U.S. could use with Canada to offer Trudeau a concession that would benefit his country in return for Trudeau’s support of the U.S. mandatory COOL law. Underpinning the letter is the group’s belief that Trudeau is more likely than his predecessor to respect the need of U.S. livestock producers to differentiate meat products in the marketplace and the desire of U.S. consumers to know where their food was produced. “Canada’s long-serving Agriculture Minister, Gerry Ritz, was so vehemently opposed to our mandatory COOL law that he repeatedly and appallingly threatened U.S. industries with financial sanctions. He did this long before Canada even bothered to seek permission from the World Trade Organization (WTO) to institute retaliatory actions,” states the letter.

R-CALF USA also issued a statement encouraging all Ag groups to fight for COOL. This statement was in response to a recent letter from dairy industry organizations and a statement by the National Farmers Union (NFU) that urge Congress to pass legislation that would surrender mandatory COOL to the WTO.

It’s no wonder the number of U.S. farmers and ranchers continually shrinks at alarming rates when our own U.S. agriculture organizations refuse to fight to defend and preserve policies such as mandatory COOL that they themselves recently supported on grounds that it was essential for the success of independent producers.

It’s time for U.S. agriculture leaders, the USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture) and Congress to stand up for U.S. farmers and ranchers by refusing to capitulate to the conflicted WTO ruling. If the USDA and Congress do so, despite our strenuous objections, that is one thing. It is quite another, however, for agriculture groups to actually lead the charge to repeal an economic tool as important as mandatory COOL for U.S. producers – it is, in fact, unconscionable.

Do not fall for their deceitful rhetoric. Voluntary COOL is as bad as or worse than a full repeal of COOL because voluntary COOL puts in the hands of the meatpackers the unilateral authority to decide whether or not to affix a U.S. label, which leaves producers at the whim of those very packers. Further, voluntary COOL does not address at all the need to label imported meat, such as meat from Brazil, Honduras, Mexico and Canada.

Anything less than preserving mandatory COOL for U.S. farmers and ranchers will harm the economic viability of our independent nation’s producers.

Visit http://www.r-calfusa.com for a copy of the letter or full statement.

R-CALF USA is funded solely by donations and membership dues. Please consider becoming a member or giving a donation. For more info or to join, go to http://www.r-calfusa.com, 406-252-2516.

 

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