As End of Year Approaches, Tester’s American Beef Labeling Effort Builds Momentum

Hundreds of businesses and organizations sign on in support of Senator’s legislation

As 2021 comes to a close, U.S. Senator Jon Tester’s efforts to shore up America’s food security and defend Montana ag producers continue to pick up steam, as hundreds of organizations and businesses signed on in support of his bipartisan effort to ensure that beef raised in the United States is labeled as a product of the USA.

“[Tester’s American Beef Labeling Act] would promote a safe and affordable supply of wholesome beef for America’s consumers; a fairer, more competitive market for America’s cattle farmers and ranchers; and quality family-sustaining jobs for meat processing workers,” wrote the organizations in a letter to every member of the U.S. Senate. “Following Congress; 2015 repeal of M-Cool for beef, retail beef prices have become disconnected from underlying cattle prices, with retail beef prices and cattle prices moving I opposite directions. For several years now, consumers have been paying record prices for beef at the grocery store while cattle producers continue receiving decade-old, depressed prices for their cattle. This disconnect raises concerns that consolidated and uncompetitive beef packing industry is exploiting consumers, workers, and ranchers alike.”

They concluded: “Please become a co-sponsor of the American Beef Labeling Act of 2021 (S.2716) and please encourage its enactment as quickly as possible.”

Tester’s American Beef Labeling Act will reinstate Mandatory Country of Origin Labeling (MCOOL) for beef. The legislation will require the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), in consultation with the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, to develop a World Trade Organization (WTO)-compliant means of reinstating MCOOL for beef within one year of enactment. If USTR fails, MCOOL will automatically be reinstated.

As the only working farmer in the U.S. Senate, Tester has long been an advocate for increased market transparency and more competitive practices for Montana producers. He introduced his bipartisan Meatpacking Special Investigator Act which will create a new dedicated office within the Department of Agriculture’s Packers and Stockyards Division, addressing anticompetitive practices in the meat and poultry industries. He also introduced his bipartisan Livestock Disaster Relief Act with Senator Hoeven (R-N.D.) to ensure that Montana’s ranchers receive necessary relief to recover from future disasters. In response to this year’s extreme weather, he also secured USDA relief for Montana producers through the authorization of haying and grazing on Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres, LFP funding, and ELAP funding.

The letter of support can be found HERE.