Meat and livestock groups are raising concerns after Congress added more specific requirements to the Farm Bill that was passed by the Senate this afternoon.
On Tuesday the Senate passed a Farm Bill and now it is going to the President's desk for approval. The farm bill now includes mandatory country of origin labeling requirements, but many meat and livestock groups say they are worried this could start a trade war with Canada and Mexico.
Previous rules required meat to have labels from where it was produced such as "Product of U.S." or "Product of U.S. and Canada." The new rules, that have been in effect since last November, require labels for steaks, ribs, and other cuts of meat to provide specific information such as where the animal was born, raised and slaughtered.
But there are two sides to this issue.
Gary Brewster at Montana State said, "consumers have a right to know where there food is coming from and that certainly may be the case. They also argue that this would enhance the demand for domestically produced part of our beef supply."
Others say it's too costly to track the animals along the entire supply chain.
"We do want to see a country of origin labeling protocol that we can as U.S. meat producers and ranchers can hang our hat on so to speak," said Brewster.
And only time will tell if the new meat labeling process will benefit both sides.
Brewster stated, "There are a lot of people who want to know this and the issue becomes it is worth it to make everyone else pay for it or should it be something that individuals or individual firms do on their own. We want to make sure that we can maintain a labeling requirement for born, raised and processed in the United States and everything else surrounding that with Canada and Mexico is going to have to be figured out at the end of the day."
Governor Steve Bullock said the following today, "This Farm Bill provides certainty, strengthens our agricultural industry, and creates jobs while ensuring food for those who need it the most: hungry children, seniors, and veterans. The bill also extends payments in lieu of taxes, important for local governments and rural economies, while protecting and improving millions of acres of habitat that provide more hunting and fishing opportunities."
Congressman Steve Daines stated today that "the long-overdue passage of a five-year Farm Bill by both the House and Senate is good news for Montana, as one in five Montana jobs relies on agriculture, and a five-year farm bill that protects and promotes Montana's number one industry is critically important for our AG producers and rural communities. I'm glad that the House and Senate have been able to reach agreement on this critical legislation, and I am hopeful that President Obama will act quickly and get this bill signed into law."