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ACGA joins 165 organizations with letter to President Bush regarding labeling law

(Thursday, Dec. 4, 2003 -- CropChoice news) -- From a news release:

Contact: Larry Mitchell (202) 835-0330

WASHINGTON - Dec 3, 2003-Keith Dittrich, president of the American Corn Growers Association (ACGA) and a corn farmer from Tilden, Neb., has announced his organization, along with a coalition of 165 agriculture and consumer groups sent a letter to President Bush today to set the record straight that a two-year delay of the mandatory country-of-origin labeling law is not supported by agriculture producers or consumers. The group said Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman's recent claim that farm groups want Congress to delay the labeling law is misleading.

The full letter to President Bush follows:

December 3, 2003

Dear President Bush:

It is with great concern that we write regarding comments made by Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman relative to country-of-origin labeling. The Secretary is quoted in recent media reports saying Congress is blocking implementation of the labeling law (COOL) at the behest of farm groups. As representatives of the majority of individuals affected by this law, we want to make you aware that the overwhelming majority of farmers, ranchers and consumers support this law.

The Secretary cited three organizations in favor of delaying country-of-origin labeling. The three organizations she cited represent only a small fraction of the two million producers impacted by the law. A coalition of over 130 agriculture and consumer groups has repeatedly voiced its support to Congress in favor of the COOL law you signed into effect in 2002. This broad coalition represents over 50 million Americans.

While the Department and many in your administration have been quick to criticize the law, they have yet to offer any constructive advice on how to make this law workable and fair to all affected parties. Worse yet, the administration has unfortunately sent signals that it is open to a repeal of the law. Country-of-origin labeling is a marketing tool American producers need to promote the superiority of their products and differentiate them from commodities produced in other countries. We find it ironic that over 40 of our trading partners have country-of-origin labeling programs, yet with all of our resources and technology, the U.S. cannot determine a method of implementation that provides our consumers with the same information. Without this program in place, we are putting at risk two of our three largest beef export markets, Japan and Korea. The law was written in a fashion to provide the Secretary substantial flexibility to implement the program in a producer and consumer friendly fashion. As consumers and industry participants in strong support of the country-of-origin labeling law, we are open to hearing the ideas of the Secretary and your administration to establish an efficient and workable mandatory labeling system as contained in the 2002 farm bill.

To reiterate, over 50 million Americans support mandatory labeling for meats, produce, fish and peanuts. We urge you to encourage congressional leaders to rectify the gross error they are making by attempting to undermine the labeling law within the 2004 appropriations bill. Congress must be encouraged to defend the country-of-origin labeling law on behalf of U.S. producers and consumers.


  • Alaska Farmers Union
  • American Agriculture Movement, Inc
  • American Corn Growers Association
  • American Meat Goat Association
  • American Raw Milk Producers Pricing Assoc. (Wisc.)
  • Arkansas Farmers Union
  • Ashtabula Co. Farmers Union (Ohio)
  • Assoc. of West Virginia Livestock Auction Markets
  • Baker County Livestock Association (Ore.)
  • Beartooth Stockgrowers Association (Mont.)
  • Bonner County Cattlemen's Association (Idaho)
  • Burleigh Co. Farm Bureau (N.D.)
  • Calaveras Co. Cattlemen's Assoc. (CA)
  • California Dairy Campaign
  • California Farmers Union
  • California National Farmers Organization
  • Campaign to Reclaim Rural America (Mont.)
  • Cape Cod Cranberry Growers' Association
  • Center for Rural Affairs (Neb.)
  • Central Oregon Cattlemen's Association
  • Chefs Collaborative, Inc. (Mass.)
  • Citizen Action Coalition (Ind.)
  • Cochise-Graham Cattle Growers Assoc. (Ariz.)
  • Community Alliance with Family Farmers (Calif.)
  • Consumer Federation of America
  • Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease Foundation (Ohio)
  • Dakota Resource Council (N.D.)
  • Dakota Rural Action (S.D.)
  • Defenders of Wildlife
  • Eagle County Cattlemen's Assoc. (Colo.)
  • Family Farm Defenders (Wisc.)
  • Farm Aid
  • Farm Wives United (N.Y.)
  • Federation of Southern Cooperatives
  • Florida Association of Livestock Markets
  • Florida Farmers, Inc
  • Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association
  • Florida Tomato Exchange
  • Geauga Co. Farmers Union (Ohio)
  • Georgia Livestock Markets Association
  • Grant Co. Stockgrowers (Ore.)
  • Grant County Stockgrowers Assoc. (Wash.)
  • Harding County Stockgrowers Assoc. (S.D.)
  • Holy Cross Cattlemen's Association (Colo.)
  • Hot Springs County Farm Bureau (Wyo.)
  • Houston County Cattlemen (Minn.)
  • Idaho County Farm Bureau
  • Idaho Rural Council
  • Illinois Farmers Union
  • Illinois Stewardship Alliance
  • Independent Cattlemen's Assoc. of Texas
  • Indiana Farmers Union
  • Indiana National Farmers Organization
  • Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (Minn.)
  • Institute for Rural America (Wisc.)
  • Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement
  • Iowa Farmers Union
  • Just Food (N.Y.)
  • Kansas Cattelmen's Association
  • Kansas Farmers Union
  • Kansas Hereford Association
  • Kansas NFO
  • Kemper County Farm Bureau (Miss.)
  • Kit Carson County Cattlemen (Ore.)
  • Kittitas County Cattlemen's Assoc. (Wash.)
  • Lafayette County Cattlemen's Assoc. (Mo.)
  • Land Stewardship Project (Minn.)
  • Lincoln County Stockman's Assoc. (Colo.)
  • Livestock Marketing Association
  • Madera County Cattlemen's Assoc. (Calif.)
  • Malheur County Cattlemen's Assoc. (Ore.) Merced-Mariposa Cattlemen's Assoc. (Calif.)
  • Michigan Farmers Union
  • Minnesota Citizens Organized Acting Together
  • Minnesota Farmers Union
  • Minnesota National Farmers Organization
  • Mississippi Livestock Markets Association
  • Missouri American Agriculture Movement
  • Missouri Farmers Union
  • Missouri Rural Crisis Center
  • Missouri Stockgrowers Association
  • Modoc County Cattlemen's Association (Calif.)
  • Montana Agri-Women
  • Montana Cattlemen's Association
  • Montana Farmers Union
  • Montana National Farmers Organization
  • Montana/Wyoming Indian Stockgrowers Assoc.
  • National Assoc. of Farmer Elected Committees
  • National Campaign for Sustainable Agriculture
  • National Catholic Rural Life Conference
  • National Consumers League
  • National Family Farm Coalition
  • National Farmers Organization
  • National Farmers Union
  • Nebraska American Corn Growers Association
  • Nebraska Farmers Union
  • Nebraska Grange
  • Nebraska Livestock Markets Association
  • Nebraska Wildlife Federation
  • Nebraska Women Involved in Farm Economics
  • Nevada Live Stock Association
  • New Mexico Cattle Growers' Association
  • New Mexico Public Lands Council
  • New Mexico Wool Growers, Inc
  • New York Beef Producers Association
  • New York National Farmers Organization
  • Nobels County Farmers Union (MN)
  • North Carolina Auction Markets Association
  • North Carolina Contract Poultry Growers Association
  • North Dakota Farmers Union
  • North Dakota Livestock Marketing Association
  • North Dakota Professional Insurance Agents Association
  • Northeast Organic Farming Assoc. (N.Y.)
  • Northern Plains Resource Council (Mont.)
  • Northern Wisconsin Beef Producers Association
  • Ohio Farmers Union
  • Oklahoma American Agriculture Movement
  • Oklahoma Farmers Union
  • Oregon Cranberry Farmers' Alliance
  • Oregon Farmers Union
  • Oregon Limousine Breeders
  • Oregon Livestock Producers Association
  • Organization for Competitive Markets
  • Pennsylvania Assoc. for Sustainable Agriculture
  • Pennsylvania Farmers Union
  • Pennsylvania Livestock Auction Association
  • Perkins Co. Livestock Improvement Assoc. (S.D.)
  • Platte County Farm Bureau (Neb.)
  • Powder River Basin Resource Council
  • Progressive Agriculture Organization (Pa.)
  • Public Citizen
  • Pueblo County Stockmen (Colo.)
  • R-CALF United Stock Growers of America
  • Reclaim Rural America, Inc. (Mont.)
  • Rocky Mountain Farmers Union
  • Rural Advancement Foundation International-USA
  • Rural Roots (Idaho)
  • Rural Vermont
  • Sierra Club National Agriculture Committee
  • South Carolina Livestock Markets Association
  • South Dakota Farmers Union
  • South Dakota Livestock Auction Markets Association
  • South Dakota Stockgrowers Association
  • South Texas Hereford Association
  • Southwestern Colorado Livestock Association
  • Southeast Wyoming Cattlefeeders Association
  • Southern Colorado Livestock
  • Southern Research and Development Corp. (La.)
  • Southern Shrimp Alliance
  • Soybean Producers of America
  • Stevens County Cattlemen's Assoc. (Wash.)
  • Sustainable Earth (Ind.)
  • Texas Farmers Union
  • Utah Farmers Union
  • Washington Cattlemen's Association
  • Washington Co. Stockman's Assoc. (Colo.)
  • Washington Farmers Union
  • Watauga Stockyard Association (N.D./S.D.)
  • Way Out West Rural Action Group (Idaho)
  • Western Colorado Congress
  • Western Organization of Resource Councils
  • Wisconsin Farmers Union
  • Wisconsin National Farmers Organization
  • Women Involved in Farm Economics
  • Wyoming Stock Growers Association

cc: Members of Congress, Secretary Ann Veneman

Dittrich also remarked, "It is difficult to understand why some of the organizations that didn't sign this letter believe in voluntary COOL, but want to mandate check-offs from farm and ranch families."

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