National Farmers Organization backs country-of-origin labeling

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COLUMBUS – At its national convention in Columbus, Ohio, farmers and ranchers from across the country overwhelming voted in favor of a new BSE detection system, as well as adoption of food labeling measures.

“The time is right for stronger food safety protection measures to be adopted in this country,” said Gilbert Kleaving, a national director from Tell City, Ind.

Resolution. National Farmers Organization delegates passed the livestock resolution that called for the following:

* A USDA developed system that would test all suspect cattle;

* Country-of-origin labeling (COOL) be funded immediately;

* Producers be indemnified for losses incurred due to unforeseeable market reaction to disease discovery;

* USDA take all necessary steps to ensure the safety of domestic or imported animal feeds;

* That any new animal ID system be national in scope, and protect independent livestock producers’ interests;

* Development of a reliable and rapid live cattle test.

COOL as ID plan. “We believe that COOL will accomplish many of the goals of a national animal ID system, and we’re looking forward to a full funding in the near future,” Kleaving added.

National Farmers President Paul Olson of Taylor, Wis., cited BSE concerns, and the opportunity COOL and other measures provide for assuring consumer safety.

“It’s what our consumers want,” he emphasized to hundreds of convention-goers.

The organization backs indemnity payments for producers.

New programs. National Farmers has recently launched several new initiatives, including Acres Revenue Plus, which combines crop insurance with price risk management. It allows producers to forward contract a higher percentage of their grain, with protection built into the strategy.

Additionally, NFOrganics, also in grain, is experiencing marked growth.

Add to that, a milk futures program, UltraFutures, and a retail meat and cheese division called New Country Farms.

Opportunities such as National Farmers’ new initiatives generate hope, said National Farmers Vice President Leonard Vandenburg, Ripon, Calif.

The vice president urged NFO producers share their stories of National Farmers marketing success among other farmers.

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