S.D. Ranchers unhappy with Rounds' MCOOL resolution

Published: May. 20, 2020 at 10:41 PM CDT
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American cattle growers have been asking for "Mandatory Country of Origin Labeling" on beef products, pointing out that the nation's four major meat packers have been mixing foreign meat in American beef. Even though Senator Mike Rounds co-sponsored a resolution to support the labeling, many American cattle producers don't think a resolution is helpful. "It's not a law," says Kenny Fox, a South Dakota rancher.

"Both senators said they won't vote for it...,they support the resolution which aggregates me why support the resolution if you won't vote for it," says Mike Fuller, who operates a feed yard in Onida S.D.

A resolution is not a bill, and since it doesn't legally require the packers who processed the meat to label where it came from, they can continue to use foreign sources, which is cheaper. "They use drugs we don't use. NFL tells their players not to eat beef unless where they cam from because if you eat Mexican beef you can test positive for steroids that aren't legal in the United States," Fuller says.

Reports from major meat packers say they have a lot of meat in stock, but that raises questions regarding price increases in retail stores. "Another excuse they gave us, a smokescreen if you will, is they have so much beef in cold storage, that they just can't process right now, because there is so much in cold storage the question on producers' mind right now is where is that beef that's in cold storage, because that should be supplementing grocery stores while meat plants are shut down."

Meanwhile consumers are paying record high prices for beef. "I think immediately absolutely these imports need to be shut down. It doesn't make any sense to keep pouring meat in here when we have all these cattle here." Liz May, a cattle producer who also runs a grocery store, is frustrated with the current situation, where she's surrounded by quality local animals, but these animals have no market and everything seems to be against the stock growers.

"We don't have the money, the power for lobbying. As bad as it is, I hope this wakes the consumers up."

Liz May hopes that their voice will be heard, as the consumers have the right to make informed choices on their meat products.

If anyone would like to help the cause of making the mandatory country of origin labeling into a bill, you can sign a petition with: