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States Address COOL for Beef: Wyoming Committee Passes Bill, Oklahoma to Consider One

One at a time, cattle states are addressing the issue of accurate country of origin labeling for beef.

The Wyoming House Ag Committee passed "The Country of Origin Placard Bill" by a vote of 6 to 3 on Feb. 22.

The Wyoming Farm Bureau, Powder River Resource Council and R-CALF USA spoke in support of the bill.

The Wyoming Stock Growers Association spoke against the bill, according to an R-CALF USA news release.

The legislation would require all beef to be identified as to its origin with a sign located next to the beef in the grocery store. Only beef exclusively born, raised, and slaughtered in the United States would be eligible for the U.S.A. placard.

An Oklahoma legislator, Carl Newton from Cherokee is hoping to introduce a similar bill in his state next week. The District 58 representative who grew up on a farm and ranch is working with legislative staff to draft a bill that would require that beef that is born, raised and slaughtered in the U.S. be identified with placards in stores. Beef not born, raised and slaughtered in the U.S. would not have to be identified.

"Currently any beef processed in the United States is considered U.S. beef even if it was grown in Brazil or Mexico or Canada or another country.

"We hold our beef producers to a higher standard, and for them to compete with these other countries' beef that is being called U.S. beef isn't fair marketing."

Brad Hutchinson, the president of the new R-CALF USA affiliate, the Oklahoma Independent Stockgrowers Association said his group is in favor of the bill.

"It's a producer and consumer issue. Consumers want to go to the grocery store and know what they are buying."

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