FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Feb. 9, 2015

Contact: Andrew Jerome, 202-314-3106
ajerome@nfudc.org

WASHINGTON (Feb. 9, 2015) – National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson urged the Canadian Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Gerry Ritz, to review the results of a recent econometric study showing that “COOL did not have a negative impact on Canadian cattle exports,” in a letter sent today.

The letter comes on the heels of a trip by Minister Ritz and members of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, the Canadian Pork Council and the Canadian Meat Council to Washington, D.C. to meet with American lawmakers. Johnson pointed out that the study, conducted by C. Robert Taylor, Ph.D., of Auburn University, points out that previous studies conducted on behalf of Canadian interests and submitted to the World Trade Organization (WTO) were flawed.

“Dr. Taylor’s study addressed issues such as confounding factors and omitted variable bias present” in several previous studies, the letter notes. Unlike those studies, which relied largely on proprietary data that was provided to the researchers by the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association – a staunch opponent of COOL – Taylor’s study instead relied upon Mandatory Price Reporting data, which is publicly available.

“Dr. Taylor’s recent study on COOL discredits claims made by Canada to the WTO,” said Johnson. “I strongly encourage Minister Ritz to study the COOL report, use it to inform his assessments of COOL, and allow the WTO process to run its course.”

Johnson also noted that the recent study on COOL found that fed cattle price basis actually declined after COOL went into effect; that COOL also had no negative impact on imports of slaughter cattle; and COOL did not significantly affect those of feeder cattle.

“American lawmakers should not be listening to the overblown rhetoric and retaliatory threats made by foreign government officials and the multinational meatpacking industry,” said Johnson. “Farmers and ranchers in this country are proud of the products they produce, and consumers have a strong and growing desire to know where their food comes from.”

The WTO has stated multiple times that countries have a right to label products with their country of origin and remain in compliance with WTO,” said Johnson. “The Canadian government needs to allow the WTO process to run its course.”

A full copy of the letter is available here.

National Farmers Union has been working since 1902 to protect and enhance the economic well-being and quality of life for family farmers, ranchers and rural communities through advocating grassroots-driven policy positions adopted by its membership.

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