Country of Origin

(Kristina) So, it’s really great to be traveling this week in Kansas and
one of the issues that a lot of producers are talking about and still
engaged with is well-known to the cattle industry known as Mandatory
Country of Origin Labeling. This has been an issue that we’ve been working
against, really in Washington since the 2002 Farm Bill. But most recently
over the last couple of years, the World Trade Organization has actually
ruled against the U.S.’s policy on Mandatory Country of Origin Labeling
and in favor of two of our top five export markets, Canada and Mexico. In
June the House had a really big vote where we had 300 members of Congress
from both sides of the aisle actually come together to support legislation
to fully repeal the problematic Country of Origin Labeling just for beef,
pork and chicken. Now our sights have really been turned to the Senate for
the month of July. We have a strong champion there in the gentleman who is
actually the chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, Senator Pat
Roberts, who has full repeal legislation introduced in the Senate. He
actually filed it, it has an amendment to be considered on the
transportation discussion in July. Unfortunately due to politics and other
issues going on in the Senate at that time, the amendment was never
actually brought forward for a vote during that transportation discussion.
But when the Senate comes back in the month of September, which the days
are limited because of a lot of the different holidays, we’re actually
going to be pushing for a vote and working with the chairman of the Senate
Agriculture Committee to actually get this problematic legislation
repealed once and for all. The reason why we as the beef industry are so
concerned about this is because again, the World Trade Organization has
ruled that this regulation is problematic and has actually given the green
light to two of our top five trading partners, Canada and Mexico, to
retaliate against the United States. And that would be in the form of
tariffs, which are also a kind of tax on our goods. So, the U.S. beef
industry is a target on the Canadian list, but it’s also a very broad
list. It includes the wine industry, specialty crops like cherries and
apples, the ethanol industry, office manufacturing equipment, pieces that
go into office manufacturing equipment, ethanol, so a whole host of
products are on the retaliation list that will be impacted if the Senate
does not act before retaliation comes into effect. So, again, some great
champions in the U.S. Senate especially from Kansas who really appreciate
all the efforts of Senator Roberts. He’s working very closely with the
House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mr. Mike Conaway from Texas, who has
a huge vote in June, 300 people supporting his legislation in the House.
And now putting additional pressure on the Senate and just making sure
that they understand really how important it is to deal with this
legislation before the retaliation goes into effect.

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