R-CALF says U.S. trade policies need an overhaul

The head of R-CALF USA says current free trade policies are failing America’s independent cattle producers.

Bill Bullard tells Brownfield drastic changes are needed. 
“We’re supporting, for example, the use of tariffs in order to ensure we can maintain a viable, productive cattle and beef industry in the United States,” he says.  “And not continue to off-shore that to foreign nations and to become dependent on imported beef.”

Bullard says imported beef displaces the production of independent US producers, and says an overhaul of current trade strategies is crucial to the viability to the industry moving forward.  “So our solutions include, Mandatory Country of Origin Labeling for beef,” he says.  “So consumers can be empowered to choose whether to support the domestic supply chain or some foreign supply chain.  And it includes resorting the reduced standards that we have accomplished since we entered the World Trade Organization.”

Bullard says the organization also wants to see health and safety standards strengthened and tariffs used as a strategic tool to increase production.

AUDIO: Bill Bullard, R-CALF USA

  • What Mr. Bullard and his colleagues at R-CALF have failed to recognize over the many years of promoting Mandatory Country of Origin Labeling is the concept of free and fair trade…at least as it stands between the United States and Canada…two countries with a very integrated livestock and meat processing sector. Canada is one of the largest importers of US ag commodities and processed foods…in fact largest foreign buyer in some sectors. Canadian cattle do head south to US plants…but meat products turned around coming north is much higher dollar-wise.
    MCOOL is deemed to contravene both WTO and USMCA rules…as it requires the added cost of segregating US origin cattle from Canadian cattle after they cross south over the border. The inefficiencies at the feedyard and meat packing plants creates added costs that flow back to the Canadian cattle producer…and that’s not right.
    From the Canadian producers view…we are every bit as good a producer of beef as our good friends in the US…and have no problem with MCOOL if it was just about labelling…Made in the USA or Made in Canada. It’s the added cost borne by the Canadian cattle producer for segregation at US feeding and processing facilities…that’s our beef…pun intended.
    If Mr. Bullard could come up with a solution to that…MCOOL is fine with us

  • But Mr Canadian it’s ok for US producers to get shafted from southern and northern imports. Keep your Canadian products.

    • Shafted by Canadian cattle producers…in what way? By being fair and competitive? Please be aware that the success of American agriculture depends heavily on access to foreign markets. The US and Canada have been partners on so many fronts going back to almost each our countries foundings. In fact, I would say there are no two nations more closely aligned. Good neighbors are better than tall fences.

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