(USCA) - On April 3, 2014 the United States Cattlemen's Association (USCA) submitted comments to the House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies. USCA focused its comments on four key areas including country of origin labeling (COOL), the Department of Agriculture's Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (USDA-GIPSA), livestock market reporting and horse processing.
USCA President Jon Wooster, San Lucas, California said his group will be monitoring multiple issues during the appropriations process. "USCA remains absolutely committed to defending the COOL program," noted Wooster. "The decision issued last week by the U.S. District Court of Appeals to deny plaintiffs' request for a preliminary injunction in the COOL lawsuit is a strong signal to Congress that the program does not violate the COOL statute or the First Amendment as the plaintiffs claim."
"We are prepared to defend COOL against any attempt to defund, repeal or alter the current program. USCA urges lawmakers to allow the ongoing cases in the U.S. District Court and at the World Trade Organization to continue without legislative obstruction. Consumers want and deserve the enhanced labeling information that COOL provides."
USCA also opposes any language to be included in the appropriations bill that would prohibit further action regarding necessary revisions to the Packers & Stockyards Act as originally authorized within the 2008 Farm Bill. USCA Marketing and Competition Committee Chairman Allan Sents, McPherson, Kansas, commented on this provision saying, "Competition and price discovery are key elements of a healthy cattle market. USDA-GIPSA's ability to provide oversight and define actions that constitute anticompetitive practices is essential to enforcement of the law. The current USDA-AMS market news reporting program is an essential component of true price discovery. Without this program there would be no market transparency."