S.D. Stockgrowers call on Rep. Noem to defend COOL

Farm Forum

The South Dakota Stockgrowers called on Rep. Kristi Noem on May 10 to defend Country of Origin Labeling in the 2013 Farm Bill mark up which is scheduled to be completed on Wednesday in the House Agriculture Committee.

“We ask that Rep. Noem use her position as a member of the House Ag committee to lead the charge in defending Country of Origin Labeling,” said Shane Kolb, Stockgrowers President. “Stockgrowers members have been actively involved in the implementation of Country of Origin Labeling and we hope that Representative Noem will work with us to defend it.”

The House version of the 2013 Farm Bill was introduced recently and includes a provision to study the economic impacts of COOL on beef, poultry and pork. However SD Stockgrowers are concerned that this simple provision is an attempt by opponents to invite future amendments that could strip COOL and possibly remove the labels that have been in place on food items since 2004.

“We are very concerned that Chairman Lucas’s mark-up language includes a section on Country of Origin Labeling that we assume is a direct attempt to halt the implementation of COOL,” explained Kolb. “There is no reason to study this program. Our producers want the program, our customers want the program and USDA has expressed their commitment to make the program work.”

Kolb concluded by saying, “Stockgrowers appreciates Rep. Noem’s leadership on agriculture issues and we are asking for her leadership to actively oppose any attempts to weaken or derail our Country of Origin Labeling program.”