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Christmas came early for beef and pork producers

Faced with the prospect of punishing sanctions, Congress includes repeal of COOL law in omnibus bill

Cowboy on Horse During Cattle Roundup
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That was the word the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association used to described the U.S. Senate passage of Congress’s omnibus appropriations bill that would repeal U.S. country-of-origin labelling (COOL) for Canadian beef and pork.

Dave Solverson
Dave Solverson photo: Supplied

“This is fantastic news for Canada’s beef cattle producers,” said CCA president Dave Solverson, who ranches near Camrose.

“The CCA initiated this fight in 2008 because the U.S. failed to live up to its international trade obligations. In the seven years since U.S. COOL has been in effect, the cumulative losses for the Canadian beef and pork sectors have been staggering.”

The bill was passed one week before Christmas — the same day Canada and Mexico were to be given authority by the World Trade Organization to impose retaliatory tariffs of more than $1 billion on U.S. products if COOL was not repealed. It was signed into law by President Barack Obama three days later

The Canadian Cattlemen’s Association spent nearly $4 million fighting COOL, said CCA vice-president Dan Darling. The legal bill paid by beef producers through their provincial checkoffs, and Darling thanked producers for directing their dollars towards the fight.

R-CALF and some other American farm groups decried the repeal, but others praised it, including the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and National Pork Producers Council.

If it had not been repealed, it “would have been devastating to me and other pork producers,” said Ron Prestage, a South Carolina pork farmer and president of the national pork association.

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