University of Tennessee’s Agriculture Policy Analysis Center urges the return of COOL
- Harwood Schaffer and Dr. Daryll Ray of the University of Tennessee’s Agriculture Policy Analysis Center recently urged the return of MCOOL for beef, pork and bison.
- The Policy Analysis Center believes that MCOOL has the potential to give consumers the information they need to buy the products that fit their individual preferences. Additionally, the cost of providing this information to consumers is insignificant because the information already exists in the meat supply chain.
- It is clear that consumers have an interest in knowing what country their beef originates from as over 400,000 consumers have signed the online COOL petition maintained by RCALF USA, located at demandusabeef.com.
- This petition is asking the President and Congress to pass MCOOL for beef, pork and dairy products.
- Opposition to MCOOL comes largely from meatpackers, importers and a pending ruling by the World Trade Organization (WTO.)
- This ruling authorizes Canada and Mexico to institute retaliatory tariffs if beef and pork were re-added to the COOL law.
- According to RCALF CEO, Bill Bullard, Congress can avoid any problems with the WTO ruling by passing a new law to reinstate COOL for beef rather than re-adding beef to the old law.
- Bullard and his group are currently working with several congressional offices to restore MCOOL for beef. They are hoping that new legislation will be introduced in Congress soon after the election results are known.
Lawmaker calls for probe into JBS’ government subsidies
- Representative Rosa DeLauro, D-CT that is the vice chair of the House of Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee which is responsible for funding the USDA, has sent a letter to USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue requesting an investigation into JBS to determine whether the meatpacker meets the requirements to receive federal subsidies
- In the letter, DeLauro explained her concern regarding U.S. subsidiary payments that have been paid to the corrupt Brazil-based meatpacker.
- Through USDA’s trade aid package, the company has received $100 million in payments. These funds were originally set up to go to struggling farmers and ranchers who had been hurt by the Trump administration’s failed trade policies.
- In the past, the USDA has declined to investigate JBS because it conflicted with the DOJ and SEC probes. This time around may be different because of new information recently disclosed by the Justice Department and the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission.
- DeLauro wrote in her letter, “USDA’s continued and sustained failure to act is unacceptable and inaction has become unsustainable under rule of law.”
- This push to look deeper into JBS adds to a long line of accusations that the company is currently dealing with.
U.S. House agriculture leader loses election, unsettling Midwest farm sector
- On Tuesday, Democratic U.S. Representative Collin Peterson, House Agriculture Committee chair, failed to win re-election in Minnesota. Many agriculture leaders say this could hurt the Midwest grain belt.
- Democrats were able to retain control of the house and will continue to chair the committee, but without Peterson, U.S. spending could shift away from a region that was hammered by President Trump’s trade war with China.
- Most likely senior House Democrats like Representative Jim Costa of California, David Scott of Georgia and Marcia Fudge of Ohio will be considered for the position.
- California is known for their fruit and vegetable crops and southern states like Georgia are known for their chicken production. Without Representative Peterson continuing on as Agriculture Committee chair, Midwest farmers who raise pigs, soybeans and corn may be negatively impacted by this transition.
- The House Agriculture Committee has authority over many agriculture and rural issues, such as the Farm Bill, renewable energy, disaster assistance, nutrition and crop insurance.
- Former U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp, D-ND, stated that Peterson’s defeat is devastating because he understood the complexities of the legislation and knew more about the Farm Bill than anyone else in Congress.
Boxed beef prices
- Choice boxed beef: $212.55 (+2.36)
- Select boxed beef: $198.97 (+1.92)