LETTER: Keep COOL in farm bill

Farm Forum

Green grass is blooming across our state and welcomed moisture will give many an optimistic outlook. That same attitude should be applied to the crafting of a farm bill.

Lawmakers in Washington, D.C., continue to work on the final details for a five-year farm bill after a few false starts and an extension. Some members of Congress are caving to the big meat packers and calling for an outright repeal of the 2008 Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) law. Currently, Canada and Mexico are challenging COOL with the World Trade Organization, but the U.S. Department of Agriculture is working with the WTO to write proper rules.

The Senate and House Agriculture committees recently spent a day debating possible amendments to the 12-title piece of legislation, ranging from commodities and nutrition to rural development and energy.

Consumers have a right to know where their meat was born, raised and slaughtered. Foreign countries may not meet the animal health standards we demand and expect here in the United States.

Cattlemen from all corners of South Dakota should demand that our members of Congress stand up to the big meat packer corporate conglomerates and keep COOL.

The Senate plans to expedite the process to get a farm bill passed soon before intense debate on meaningful immigration reform. Speed is welcome, but be cautious and ask what is being slipped in at the last minute.

Sen. Jason Frerichs

D-Wilmot, District 1