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Media Contact: Terry Rothwell (308) 458-2758

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - September 11, 2007


Country of Origin Labeling and Mandatory ID NOT Linked

(Hyannis, NE) – The Independent Cattlemen of Nebraska (ICON) board of directors has learned recently that cattle producers are being contacted by various entities trying to link Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) and a National mandatory ID program.

“Nothing could be farther from the truth” said John O’Dea, region 5 director and chairman of the Animal Health Committee. “What we are seeing is a last gasp attempt by COOL opponents to derail the program by linking it to a wildly unpopular National ID program. COOL and ID are two distinct and different programs, and in fact, the COOL law prohibits using a National ID program for purposes of establishing origin.”

USDA is still in the rulemaking process for COOL, having just closed a public comment period. If the amendments to COOL offered in the House version of the Farm Bill are upheld through the Senate, the mandated requirements for verifying origin will be limited to those already used in the course of normal business practices.

Jim Hanna, Chairman of the ICON Marketing Committee had these comments:
“Don’t let anyone mislead you into believing you have to sign up, pay for and use their electronic ear tag and database program in order to sell cattle that will qualify as U.S. born and raised. If the compromise amendments to the COOL law hold up, something as simple as a calving record book or verification of a first and last calving date and location will suffice. The threat of reduced return for un-tagged cattle is a hollow one as well. Tagged and un-tagged cattle have been selling this summer side by side with no observed premiums or discounts either way.”

ICON asks any producer who receives communication from a sale barn, vet, tag vendors, “industry” organizations or anyone else making claims about COOL and mandatory ID to contact our office (Terry Rothwell 308-458-2758) and let us know.



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