Livestock groups vow to oppose final farm bill on COOL, GIPSA issues
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WASHINGTON, Jan. 27, 2014 - Some of the nation's biggest livestock groups are vowing to oppose final passage of the farm bill if it reflects certain reported decisions regarding the Grain Inspection Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) and Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL).
In a letter to the leaders of the House and Senate agriculture committees, the groups said they were disappointed that the latest reported version of the bill excludes language included in House-passed legislation regarding (GIPSA). The organizations include the American Meat Institute, the National Cattleman's Beef Association, the National Chicken Council, the National Pork Producers Council, the National Turkey Federation and the North American Meat Association.
That language was in an amendment sponsored by Reps. Michael Conaway, R-Texas, and Jim Costa, D-Calif., and was aimed at restricting the reach of GIPSA, as directed by Congress in the 2008 farm bill. GIPSA is a USDA agency that, among other things, regulates the dealings between meatpackers and producers.
Also, the groups say the latest version of the farm bill fails to include language that would make COOL laws compliant with the World Trade Organization (WTO). And they pointed to threats of retaliatory actions by Mexico and Canada if the current labeling regulations aren't changed. The rules require meat labels to state where the animal that provided the meat was born, raised and slaughtered.
“This retaliation will be crippling to our industries and threaten the long-term relationship with two of our most important export markets,” the groups said in the letter.
“We are struck by the fact that a sensible resolution was not achieved for the GIPSA and COOL issues, and therefore, we will actively oppose final passage of the Farm Bill, if these issues are not addressed,” the groups said.
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