Cattlemen discuss industry's trade deficit

US - Mandatory country-of-origin labeling wouldn't be necessary if the beef market were healthy, according to a central Montana rancher.
calendar icon 7 December 2006
clock icon 1 minute read
“If we had a healthy market, we wouldn't need mandatory country-of-origin labeling,” said Dan Teigen who operates the family's 122-year-old ranch near Teigen, Mont. “The mandatory country-of-origin labeling law was passed by the federal government, which was great for the moment, has been backsliding since.”

Teigen joined six other ranchers in discussing the challenges faced by cattlemen in today's cattle and beef industries at the Montana Cattlemen's Association's annual Cattlemen's Day on Nov. 4 in Billings, Mont.

The current trade deficit is to blame for the nation's unhealthy beef market, according to Leo McDonnell, a Columbus, Mont., rancher and co-founder of the R-CALF USA organization. “Go back to the 1980s and 1990s, when the big thing was to give access to gain access,” he recalled. “We're winning in the global marketing game - we're the biggest importer of beef in the world. They've turned the agriculture industry from having a surplus to a deficit in trade. We went from being the No. 1 exporter of beef to No. 7 or No. 8.”

Source: The Prairie Star
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