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ACGA urges Senate support for Country of Origin Labeling

(Wednesday, July 16, 2003 -- CropChoice news) --From a news release:

WASHINGTON - July 15, 2003-Keith Dittrich, president of the American Corn Growers Association (ACGA) and a corn farmer from Tilden, Neb., announced today his dissatisfaction with a key vote taken last night by the U.S. House of Representatives which dealt with Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) on imported meat. By a vote of 208 to 193, with 33 members not even voting, the House passed a provision in its version of the FY 2004 agriculture spending bill which prohibits the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) from implementing COOL, a law passed last year by Congress and signed into law by President Bush as part of the 2002 farm bill.

"When asked in a recent poll, 91 percent of corn farmers agreed that the USDA should follow the law as passed by Congress and its intent by requiring Country of Origin Labeling on imported meat from foreign countries," said Dittrich. "With such a large percentage of corn farmers supporting COOL, and with only 47 percent (208 out of 435) of the U.S. House voting against its implementation this week, we are encouraged that the U.S. Senate will ensure proper implementation of the law. We call upon all Senators to support striking this onerous provision from the agriculture spending bill and allow USDA to implement the law."

The recently completed national survey of corn producers by the American Corn Growers Foundation (ACGF) was conducted by Robinson and Muenster Associates, Inc., of Sioux Falls, S.D. and was completed on April 17, 2003. It polled 511 corn farmers in the fourteen major corn producing states that represent 86 percent of total 2003 prospective corn acres, according to the USDA's prospective corn plantings report issued March 31. The ACGF random, scientific survey has a margin of error of +/- 4.4 percent at the 95 percent confidence level. More complete survey data is posted on the ACGF website, http://www.acgf.org .

"Additionally, with such a large majority of the corn farms supporting implementation of this 'law of the land', it is difficult to fathom any farm organization opposing it, much less an organization representing corn farmers. ACGA gives our full endorsement to proper implementation of the Country of Origin Labeling Law and calls upon all commodity groups to do the same. We also call upon Congress to pass similar legislation to provide country of origin labeling for all food sold in the U.S."

The American Corn Growers Association represents 14,000 members in 35 states. See http://www.acga.org .