Country-of-Origin, and the merits of a good label

As you (hopefully) know, our very own Rep. Kristi Noem is on the Farm Bill conference committee. This committee, made up of House and Senate representatives, should be coming up with a negotiated Farm Bill able to pass both houses of Congress. We know very well here the Farm Bill is one of the single most important pieces of legislation for rural states, with everything from conservation provisions to new farmer programs to crop insurance all wrapped up into one bill.

But one of the most key, and most controversial, pieces of the Farm Bill this year is the discussion going on around Country-of-Origin Labeling, or COOL. COOL is the only marketing tool for US producers to differentiate our product from other countries to American and foreign customers. COOL allows us to say, “Yup. Born, bred, and made in the USA.” Which, for whatever reason, is not okay with some people up on Capitol Hill.

But producers want COOL. Country-of-origin labels allow ranchers to distinguish our livestock as products made in the US. The vast majority of livestock producers support labeling. Consumers, more and more concerned with the quality of their food, think it is a good idea to have labels on packages of meat telling them where it came from! COOL rewards South Dakotas ranchers, and many of our members, for their high quality beef.

There are a few folks up in Congress who would like to repeal COOL, bowing to the pressure of industry groups and others who think we shouldn’t be able to proudly display that we raised the meat. And our rep, Kristi Noem, has given COOL tepid support at best, despite overwhelming support in her own home state.

So call her office. Call her agriculture staffer, Renee Laterell, and tell her Kristi needs to make a strong, public statement in support of COOL and that she should be the leader on the Farm Bill conference committee on this issue. You can email her as well – both phone and email are below. Make the call now – our representative has the power to make COOL stick, and you have the power to help her make that happen.

Renee Latterell, Rep. Noem’s Agriculture Staffer
Phone number: (855) 225-2801


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