Kansas Cattleman Testifies to Fallacy of COOL
The Senate Agriculture Committee held a hearing today to discuss the implications of retaliation due to the failed Mandatory Country of Origin Labeling program.
Jaret Moyer, cattle producer and president of the Kansas Livestock Association, testified at the hearing. “Proponents of COOL have long said mandatory labeling would increase demand for U.S. beef,” said Moyer. “After six years of implementation, it is clear that this is not the case.”
Moyer cited a November 2012 study published by Kansas State University that determined demand for beef has not been positively impacted by COOL. He also referenced an April 2015 report to Congress authored by K-State Associate Professor of Agricultural Economics Glynn Tonsor. This report estimated that COOL has cost the industry $8.5 billion. Nearly $500 million of this cost has affected Moyer’s home state of Kansas, and as he told the committee, “That’s 500 million out of the pockets of Kansas producers, processors and consumers for a program providing no value.”
“COOL is a failed experiment,” Moyer said. “The WTO has ruled against the U.S. four times. The next step is for Canada and Mexico to retaliate. We continue to hear some pro-COOL groups and members of Congress suggest that the process is not over and therefore it is too early to act. We disagree. We have two options, repeal or face retaliation.”
The WTO has granted Canada and Mexico permission to implement billions of dollar in retaliatory tariffs on a wide variety of U.S. products including beef, ethanol, wine, and furniture. Moyer expressed the importance of maintaining good relationships with Canada and Mexico, and he reiterated the necessity of full repeal in ending this dispute with two of our biggest trade partners.
“The solution is for Congress to repeal COOL now. Three hundred House members demonstrated in a strong bi-partisan vote the time has come to stop this madness. We encourage the Senate to exhibit the courage to do the same.”
Moyer urged the committee to repeal COOL before retaliation is implemented, which could occur as early as August.