NOBULL: WORC statement on NCBA lawsuit filed against USDA for new Country-of-Origin Labeling rules

For immediate release: July 10, 2013
For more information, contact: Mabel Dobbs, 208-549-3433; Liz Moran, WORC Regional Organizer, 406-252-9672; or Kevin Dowling, Communications Director, 406-252-9672

WORC statement on NCBA lawsuit filed against USDA

for new Country-of-Origin Labeling rules

Billings, Mont. – Rancher Mabel Dobbs, Chair of Western Organization of Resource Councils’ (WORC) Ag and Food Campaign Team, from Weiser, Idaho, issued the following statement on behalf of WORC in response to a suit filed by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) against the U.S. Department of Agriculture for new rules regarding country-of-origin labeling for beef: “A decade after consumers and ranchers fought for and won the right to Country-of-Origin Labeling of meat, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association has the audacity to join the international meatpackers in a lawsuit to destroy what we fought for and won.

“With this lawsuit, NCBA has turned their back on U.S. ranchers whose interests the organization is supposed to represent. NCBA is carrying the water for the big international meatpackers against a popular and important program for independent ranchers.

“What angers ranchers is that we pay a mandatory beef checkoff fee to NCBA for every animal we sell. Then NCBA attacks programs that benefit independent ranchers with our funds.

“More than ever, consumers are rising up to say they want labels with information about the origins and ingredients of food so they can make informed choices about what they feed themselves and their families. The new COOL rules under attack by NCBA give consumers more information by listing the where the animal was born, raised, and slaughtered.

“That is information consumers have a right to know. America’s independent ranchers agree.

“NCBA’s lawsuit attempts to strip away the opportunity for consumers to make informed choices and deny the U.S. ranchers’ reward for raising the highest quality, made in the USA, beef. This lawsuit shows how far out of step the NCBA is with ranchers.”

Based in Billings, Mont., WORC is a network of conservation and family agriculture organizations.