OCA's Michael Kelsey Tells State Ag Committee "Thanks, But No Thanks" in Hearing Exploring Suggested MCOOL Policy for OklahomaThu, 19 Sep 2019 16:30:15 CDT
In a meeting held Thursday by the House Agriculture and Rural Development Committee to discuss an interim study on the possible introduction of legislation that would support the mandatory origin labelling of meat products produced in Oklahoma, Executive Vice President of the Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association Michael Kelsey addressed state lawmakers testifying that such policy would be in contrast to the interests of Oklahoma beef producers.
"We don't see the need to mandate a label," Kesley testified, "because we would rather do that and then achieve the value on our own. So, with all due respect to you all, thank you for cheering us along but don't pass a law the mandates something on us. Cattlemen don't traditionally like mandates. They are a very independent lot so we would rather work and carve and do this on our own and that's the road we're going down."
Kelsey reported to the lawmakers gathered at the hearing that the OCA is currently in the process of developing a similar program through its own grassroots efforts, with the notable difference of voluntary participation rather than mandatory participation as is proposed by the study in question at the hearing. Kelsey also pointed out that presently, labelling a product in such a manner is in fact illegal by the definition of federal law. The voluntary program in development at the OCA, however, would assist local producers in capturing added value based on certain quality markers - but again all conducted within a voluntary framework.
Kelsey expressed his appreciation to the committee on behalf of the state beef industry for its attention in regard to this issue but respectively requested the committee refrain from imposing any such mandates and rather allow the industry the freedom to develop its own labelling system based on consumer demand and stakeholder input.
Upon the conclusion of his testimony, Kelsey entertained questions from the committee. You can listen to Kelsey's full testimony and his answers to the questions taken by the committee, by clicking or tapping the LISTEN BAR below at the bottom of the page.
The interim study was originally requested by Rep. Dustin Roberts (Dist. 21) of Durant, Okla.
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