SPEARFISH, S.D. — The South Dakota Stockgrowers Association praising Senators Thune and Rounds introduction of the American Beef Labeling Act.
“If we want a strong rural America, we need a strong family farm and ranch system of agriculture – and the only way we’re gonna get that is if our independent producers can compete in the marketplace,” says R-Calf CEO Bill Bullard.
The bipartisan effort seeking to re-introduce mandatory country of origin labeling for beef in the U.S.
The legislation would give the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) six months to reinstate mandatory country of origin labeling that’s in compliance with World Trade Organization standards.
No more than six months later – the labeling would take effect.
“If they don’t come up with something a year from now, we would reinstate mandatory country of origin labeling along the lines of what it’s been in the past and then we’d just have to take the World Trade Organization on,” Sen. Thune says.
Under the current system, meat processed in the United States is labeled as “product of the U.S.A.” but is often raised in different countries under different standards. Thune says that process undermines cattle producers.
Country of origin labeling would require products with the U.S.A. label to be born, raised, and harvested within the United States.
Current U.S.A. labeling is also misleading for consumers.
Thune telling NewsCenter1 that he believes cost increases – if any – would be negligible to the consumers, who have already seen prices go up and supply go down.
“I think those are idle threats that are made by packers that, you know, the cost is gonna go up – I mean, it’s already going up – look at what it costs you to go into the supermarket today and buy a steak,” Sen. Thune says.
American farmers and ranchers are an invaluable influence in their communities, providing economic stimulation in addition to agricultural products.
“If you want your tax money to stay here, and you want me to support other businesses, give me your dollar – I’ll spend it seven times before it leaves South Dakota,” says Scott Edoff, president of the South Dakota Stockgrowers Association.