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South Dakota lawmakers urge USDA to implement country of origin labeling without undue burdens on producers

(Friday, Feb. 21, 2003 -- CropChoice news) -- JERRY HAGSTROM, DTN: WASHINGTON -- The South Dakota State Legislature has passed a resolution urging the United States Department of Agriculture to implement Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) without placing an "undue burden" on U.S. producers, R-CALF USA has announced.

"Congress specifically stated in the law that a mandatory identification system shall not accompany Country of Origin Labeling," said Bob Fortune, Belvidere, SD, Chairman of the South Dakota Stockgrowers Association Marketing Committee. Resolution said, " "[T]he United States Department of Agriculture should design a system that requires all handlers of imported cattle to retain the animal's import documentation throughout the animal's life." The Legislature also suggested that USDA "define the lack of import documentation as proof of exclusive domestic origin." The resolution further states, "[U]nder this proposal, no new record keeping system would be necessary to accurately identify cattle eligible for the United States label."

Carrie Longwood, SDSGA executive director, said, "We didn't hear any dissenting arguments, in the House or the Senate, but heard a number of Senators and Representatives speak in favor of the resolution from several different perspectives."

Danni Beer, a Keldron, S.D. rancher who is R-CALF USA's COOL Committee chairman, said, she hopes that other states will send a similar message to USDA. "Every cattle-producing state should tell USDA that they won't settle for second-best for their producers or their consumers," Beer said.

The full text of HCR 1007, sponsored by Representative Jim Lintz and Senator John Koskan, Wood, SD, can be found at http://legis.state.sd.us/sessions/2003/billlist.htm#HCR .