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ACGA urges Senate support for Country of Origin Labeling

(Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2003 -- CropChoice news) -- From a news release:

Contact: Larry Mitchell (202) 835-0330

WASHINGTON - Keith Dittrich, president of the American Corn Growers Association (ACGA) and a corn farmer from Tilden, Neb., has announced his organization's support for the U.S. Senate initiative sponsored by Senators Michael Enzi, R-Wyo., and Tom Daschle, D-S.D., to instructing the conferees to the FY 2004 agriculture appropriations legislation, to retain full funding for implementation of a law passed by Congress and signed by the President in 2002 which requires country of origin labeling on many food products sold in the United States.

"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. "Implementation of this 'law of the land' is now in jeopardy as the U.S. House of Representatives has, by the narrowest of votes, elected to cut off funding of the measure in the FY 2004 agriculture appropriations bill. We commend Senators Enzi and Daschle for their leadership and initiative in sponsoring a 'Sense of the Senate Amendment' to the Senate version of the spending bill, which instructs the conferees to retain full funding of the implementation of this very popular law. We also ask the Senate to pass this amendment and demand the conferees to adhere to the instructions."

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, 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