Extension News

Iowa Beef Center director says now is time to prepare for country-of-origin labeling

Iowa Beef Center

8/11/2008

AMES, Iowa – If cattle producers are prepared, the mandatory country-of-origin labeling (COOL) requirements going into effect in September won’t be a problem, Iowa Beef Center Director John Lawrence says.

Mandatory COOL, a provision of the 2002 Farm Bill, will go into effect on Sept. 30, after two delays in its implementation. This provision, though met with mixed feelings by livestock producers, is nothing to be feared, according to Lawrence.

Instead of panicking, producers should pay attention, he adds, and they should know what is going to be expected of them. While buyers may ask producers to sign an affidavit stating the origin of the animals they are selling, it’s nothing to panic over.

“The normal business records that producers keep are all that are needed to prove compliance if they are audited,” Lawrence said. “These [records] may include the inventory records, sales receipts, health papers, etc., that most farmers already have.”

Despite the possible worry of producers that COOL will have a large impact on their day-to-day operations, the main change that COOL will demand is an increase in communication, he says. Cattle producers should be communicating with their buyers in advance to know exactly what kind of requirements the buyer will have.

“[There will be] more communication and paperwork between buyers and sellers,” Lawrence said. “Keep documentation. If you have animals of different origin on the same farm then be able to inform the buyer.”

Along with communicating with buyers to be clear on what they need, livestock producers should just work on better un¬derstanding COOL altogether, he adds. Along with information provided by the USDA, area producers can receive COOL information from Iowa resources, including the Iowa Beef Center.

For more information about COOL, including recommendations from the Iowa COOL Coalition, check out www.iowabeefcenter.org/content/COOL.htm . For more information about the upcoming Iowa State COOL webcast and a list of county extension offices that will be hosting a broadcast of this event, contact Taylor Gerling at (515) 294-9124 or tgerling@iastate.edu. Information can also be found at the Iowa Beef Center Web page, www.iowabeefcenter.org.

The Iowa Beef Center at Iowa State University was established in 1996 with the goal of supporting the growth and vitality of the state’s beef cattle industry. It serves as the university’s extension program to cattle producers and is comprised of faculty and staff from ISU Extension and the colleges of agriculture and life sciences and veterinary medicine. Together, the Iowa Beef Center’s members work to develop and deliver the latest in research-based information regarding the beef cattle industry. To learn more, visit www.iowabeefcenter.org.

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Contacts :

John Lawrence, Iowa Beef Center, (515) 294-6290, jdlaw@iastate.edu

Taylor Gerling, Iowa Beef Center, (515) 294-9124, tgerling@iastate.edu