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Agricultural News

U.S. Senate on Deadline to Repeal COOL, OCA Says It's Time to Move Forward

Mon, 06 Jul 2015 12:24:48 CDT

U.S. Senate on Deadline to Repeal COOL, OCA Says It's Time to Move Forward

Congress gets back to work this week in Washington D.C. One of their top priories this month is having the U.S. Senate take up Country-of-Origin Labeling. Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association Executive Vice President Michael Kelsey said that has to happen. In June, the House of Representatives voted 300-131 in favor of removing the labels off meat products sold in the United States. Now the legislation waits for action by the U.S. Senate. Kelsey said the Senate needs to pass some repeal language to fix this problem before retaliation kicks in from Mexico and Canada.

"Two of our largest trading partners, Canada and Mexico, have been determined in the WTO realm that they have standing in order to retaliate," Kelsey said. "Both of them have made it very clear, especially Canada that beef would be high on the list in terms of retaliation. Some of the figures I have heard from some of my Canadian friends are that they're pushing for 100 percent tariff, basically doubling the cost of U.S. beef, if you will, into Canada and that would be a detrimental effect on our markets. We need a fix."

Some agricultural organizations think that repealing the COOL law is premature and the U.S. needs to wait for the retaliation process to move forward and wait to learn what the retaliation amounts will be. Kelsey disagrees with that concept.

"I just don't see an opportunity in retaliation for us," Kelsey said. "So, let's get by this, let's move beyond this, let's be good trading partners, let's be good neighbors, but let's be profitable for our own industry and not really shoot ourselves in the foot with a big caliber weapon, in my opinion if you will.   I just don't think it's wise for us to wait and see what the numbers are and determine if we can handle that threshold, if you will. Let's get rid of this and move forward."

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow has proposed a voluntary COOL program. Kelsey agrees that American consumers want to know more about their food products and he welcomes the concept.

"I think there are still opportunities for that, which is good for cattlemen is that we now will be able to segment our product, if we want to and receive the value for that by offering that to consumers, rather than being mandated that everything be standard, if you will, by the federal government," Kelsey said.

Radio Oklahoma Network Farm Director Ron Hays featured Kelsey on the Beef Buzz feature. Click or tap on the LISTEN BAR below to listen to today's Beef Buzz.

The Beef Buzz is a regular feature heard on radio stations around the region on the Radio Oklahoma Network- but is also a regular audio feature found on this website as well. Click on the LISTEN BAR below for today's show- and check out our archives for older Beef Buzz shows covering the gamut of the beef cattle industry today.

Ron Hays Beef Buzzes with OCA's Michael Kelsey
right-click to download mp3


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