USCA Concludes Fly-In, Continues Fight for Truthful Labeling
|Lia Biondo | Director, Policy & Outreach; United States Cattlemen’s Association|
(WASHINGTON) – The United States Cattlemen’s Association (USCA) put boots on the ground in Washington D.C. during the association’s annual fly-in, bringing key issues affecting U.S. cattle producers to the attention of lawmakers and the Administration. The delegation, led by USCA President Kenny Graner and USCA Vice President Brooke Miller, focused on issues such as country-of-origin labeling, animal health and traceability, modernizing the beef checkoff, transportation, and the regulation and truthful labeling of “fake meat”.
Meetings were held with the United States Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, Federal Communications Commissioner Brendan Carr, CME Group, USDA Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA Animal Plant and Health Inspection Service, USDA Food Safety Inspection Service, U.S. Department of Transportation FMCSA, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Department of Interior, U.S. Trade Representatives, and the FDA Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. The delegation also met with nearly 50 congressional offices to emphasize these priority issues and their relevancy to the 2018 Farm Bill.
USCA President Kenny Graner issued the following statement on this year’s fly-in:
“The fly-in delegation focused on key issues to U.S. cattle producers that can be addressed in the 2018 Farm Bill process. This year, we’ve already seen pivotal movement on addressing truthful labeling of alternative proteins including plant based and cell-cultured “fake meat” products and revising Hours of Service regulations. Both issues are being led by USCA and our members worked to carry both messages forward in DC to secure needed solutions.”
“The work done by this year’s fly-in delegation can only be continued by the active support and participation of all USCA members and affiliates. The FDA’s announcement regarding a public hearing on July 12th to address cell-culture technology is evidence of cattle producers’ voice being heard. However, USCA will continue to push for USDA FSIS to assert jurisdiction over accurate labeling of these products while the FDA remains focused on ingredients. We will continue to defend consumers’ rights to have accurate labeling on the food they are purchasing. “Fake meat” products such as plant-based and cell-cultured proteins grown in a laboratory do not belong at the meat counter.”
“The 2018 Farm Bill presents a distinct opportunity to address this issue and many of the concerns facing U.S. cattle producers today and USCA will continue to work with Congress and the Administration to secure needed solutions and opportunities for the U.S. cattle industry.”
Montana Farmers Union Board of Director Brett Dailey was part of the Montana delegation. Dailey operates a ranch near Jordan, MT. He said having the opportunity to visit with members of congress is always productive. “This visit to Washington was one giant step closer to achieving Country-of-Origin Labeling for Montana producers,” said Dailey.