Delayed 2008 Farm Bill Creates Uncertainty Over M-COOL

CANADA - The Minnesota Pork Producers Association says delayed passage of the 2008 U.S. Farm Bill is creating uncertainty as pork producers prepare for Country of Origin Labelling, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 18 April 2008
clock icon 3 minute read

With Mandatory U.S. Country of Origin Labelling set to take effect September 30, pork producers had hoped an April 18 deadline for passage of the 2008 Farm Bill would give them an idea of what will be required under the new rules.

With the House of Representatives and the Senate deadlocked over a range of spending issues, the House has extended the current Farm Bill by one week to allow continued discussion.

Because of uncertainty over whether U.S. packers will accept Canadian sourced pigs when COOL becomes mandatory several American producers have stopped accepting Canadian weanlings.

Minnesota Pork Producers executive Director Dave Preisler admits no one knows how this will turn out.

Dave Preisler-Minnesota Pork Producers Association

There's been a number of discussions with packers and producers and retailers and there has been a kind of middle ground that has been negotiated.

Obviously we don't want to go backward on that middle ground.

There are some groups out there that don't even like that middle ground and so part of it we're struggling to just maintain that middle ground that has been negotiated over the last several months and we'll see where it brings us from there.

Ideally again, we're not a fan of Country of Origin Labelling but there are larger political barriers that have come to bear here that have made it difficult to fight.

It has nothing to do necessarily to do with pork but has other things to do with, for example beef and also some of the trade problems with imports that came from China.

It just created a very negative tone in Washington, D.C. towards imports.

We don't believe there's anything wrong with imported Canadian pigs but it gets caught up in a larger firestorm.

Preisler says the politics in Washington have made the situation difficult and U.S. producers don't like it any more than Canadian producers do.

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