Date: 2/4/2014 12:00:00 AM

Title: Farm Bill delivers little positive certainty for cattle producers

The Iowa Cattlemen's Association is certainly appreciative of a farm bill finally being passed to provide some certainty for farmers. However, there is disappointment in specific outcomes that both Senate and House members supported, but were not included in the final bill. These outcomes are especially troubling for the livestock industry, including cattle producers.

For instance, the certainty that is sure for livestock producers is that implementation of the mandatory Country of Origin Labeling (mCOOL) will jeopardize U.S. relationships with two major beef importers, Canada and Mexico. Currently, those two countries add nearly $2 billion to the U.S. economy through their beef purchases. Both countries are legally challenging the implementation of COOL by the U.S.; if the U.S. loses, Canada and Mexico have each indicated they will implement 100% tariffs (taxes) on beef products brought into their countries.

mCOOL will add expenses to the work of cow/calf producers and cattle feeders. It will also increase costs for consumers, and that is not positive in today’s beef market. The Iowa Cattlemen's Association will continue to work forward on this topic, supporting efforts by the National Cattlemen’s Association to mitigate the impact through the appellate courts, World Trade Organization decisions, and congressional actions.