Stockmen’s Association urges swift response to COOL ruling to protect ranchers

Farm Forum

On May 18, the World Trade Organization (WTO) ruled against the U.S. country-of-origin labeling (COOL) rule for meats. In this, the last of four rulings, the WTO called the rule discriminatory and opened the door for retaliatory trade action from Canada and Mexico, two of the United States’ largest trade partners.

North Dakota Stockmen’s Association (NDSA) President Steve Brooks, a Bowman, N.D., cow-calf and seedstock producer, said, “The WTO ruling opens the door for retaliation that will harm North Dakota cattle producers and the broader economy – at home in North Dakota and across the United States. In order to protect producers from industry crippling tariffs, Congress must act quickly to bring the United States into compliance and repeal the law.”

A recent report issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture concluded that there is insufficient evidence to show that consumers are using COOL and that COOL is adding cost to the U.S. beef industry.

“The Stockmen’s Association supports labeling, but through the channels of free enterprise and entrepreneurship,” Brooks explained. “The faulty, government-mandated approach has not benefitted producers or consumers and, if not fixed, will jeopardize the livelihoods of North Dakota ranch families.”