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Soybean Producers Ask "Who are they kidding?"

(Monday, Feb. 24, 2003 -- CropChoice news) -- The following is a news release.

Contact: Harvey Joe Sanner (501) 516-7000

DES ARC, Ark., Feb. 25, 2003---Harvey Joe Sanner, an Arkansas soybean farmer and Executive Director for the Soybean Producers of America, thinks that American soybean farmers and livestock producers are being misled by the multinational agribusiness complex regarding implementation of the Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) provision of the recently passed farm bill. "It appears that the importers of soybeans and other commodities are running a campaign of confusion regarding how COOL will impact producers. The importers are being aided and abetted by the United States Department of Agriculture in their attempt to scare farmers into thinking that they are responsible for labeling food products as to their country of origin."

"Why would American farmers be charged with identifying their own product? It should be the responsibility of importers to prove where they acquired foreign feed/food stuffs. They have records identifying the origin and destination of imported goods. I think itís a cheap trick by the multi-national agri-business community and the USDA. Understandably, the profit motive drives importers to seek lower cost commodities, even when they are inferior or dangerous to American citizens, but our own department of agriculture should not be a party to this complicity."

The issue of the dreaded Asian Rust disease that devastates soybean yields in South America is raising concern among U.S. growers, according to the SPA. They would like to see a ban on imports of soybeans or soybean products from locations known to have the disease. SPA President, Dwayne Chappell, a grower from Des Arc, Ark. says, "The importation, or merely the threat of imported soybeans and soybean products, is in itself a market killer for U.S. producers, but now we have an added potential disaster from Asian Rust all because some billionaire corporations want to save a nickel a bushel. COOL, done right, could provide monitoring that might avert a catastrophe for U.S. farmers and consumers."

"USDA's assumptions regarding Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) would put American producers in an impossible situation of trying to prove a negative. We would have to prove that our production was not imported while the importers would evade responsibility. Ain't fair! Ain't right and we can't accept it!" Sanner went on to say, "SPA will be working with coalition partners who insist that COOL be implemented according to congressional intents and in keeping with the wishes of the majority of American consumers and farmers."