US_Beef_337_221

This fight has gone on far too long! Not the battles between the cattlemen and HSUS, Sierra Club, PETA, or even chicken producers. No, I mean the fight among cattlemen over mandatory country-of-origin labeling (MCOOL). I have been witness to and part of this “Hatfield and McCoy” feud over the last two decades and can testify it has been a heck of a tussle.

I think it’s best to start with the premise that no one is blameless for this mess. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association was for MCOOL before it was against it. The packers shouted “NO!” so many times that everyone ceased to hear them. The National Farmers Union strove for total victory and when they had the chance to throw a bone to the losing side they turned their back – a grave mistake. Last but not least, R-CALF USA stalked MCOOL with an Ahab-like determination that led them to a predictable end. Indeed, many hands are sullied today.

We now find ourselves at a crossroads looking for direction. The industry has let this issue slip from its grasp and into the clutches of the World Trade Organization and a similarly unpredictable Federal court system. What a shameful predicament.