If you’ve attended a concert or contributed money to Farm Aid, chances are you’ve received a pitch in the past week to reinstate Mandatory Country of Origin Labeling for beef.

Farm Aid, led by the legendary Willie Nelson, supports the American Beef Labeling Act (S.2716) to reinstate beef’s Mandatory Country of Origin Labeling (M-COOL). Farm Aid is looking for political action to pass S.2716.

“Have you ever noticed “Product of the U.S.A.” on a label of beef in the grocery store?” Farm Aid asks. “Would it surprise you to learn that the animal it came from may have been raised and processed in Brazil or New Zealand?

Farm Aid’s call to action continues:

“Knowing where your food comes from is a fundamental right. Because of clear labels, you can choose to buy apples from New England or Mexico, and you can know if your tomatoes were grown in California or Canada. That’s not true with beef.

“For decades, multinational meatpackers have exploited American ranchers and fooled eaters. Shockingly, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) currently allows importers to label beef products from other countries ‘Product of the U.S.A.’ when the imported beef is merely unwrapped and rewrapped in the United States.

“For people who buy their meat directly from local farmers, this may not seem like a big deal — after all, you know where your meat comes from, far better than any label could ever tell you!

“But it’s still an important issue for everyone: farmers and eaters. While many eaters want to support U.S. farmers and ranchers, they simply don’t know what to buy at grocery stores in order to do so. Imports (grass-fed beef included) often create unfair price pressure and mislead consumers about the real costs of raising food in this country. The more ranchers get squeezed into the conventional system, the more we lose vital infrastructure that is critical to rebuilding local and regional food production.

“Right now, we have an opportunity to take power away from the meatpacking giants and move towards a fair food system that farmers, ranchers, and eaters can trust.

“The American Beef Labeling Act (S.2716), sponsored by senators from both political parties, will reinstate beef’s Mandatory Country of Origin Labeling (M-COOL). It guarantees that eaters know where their beef was born, raised, slaughtered, and processed. It also helps create a level playing field for American ranchers by helping them get a fair price.”

Farm Aid asks its fans to immediately urge their Senators to co-sponsor the American Beef Labeling Act.

Current list of the bill’s bipartisan sponsors and co-sponsors:

  • Sen. Barrasso, John [R-WY]
  • Sen. Booker, Cory A. [D-NJ]
  • Sen. Gillibrand, Kirsten E. [D-NY]
  • Sen. Heinrich, Martin [D-NM]
  • Sen. Hoeven, John [R-ND]
  • Sen. Lujan, Ben Ray [D-NM]
  • Sen. Lummis, Cynthia M. [R-WY]
  • Sen. Rounds, Mike [R-SD]
  • Sen. Tester, Jon [D-MT]
  • Sen. Thune, John [R-SD]

Nelson, Neil Young and John Mellencamp organized Farm Aid in 1985 for annual benefit concerts that have since raised more than $60 million to help farmers throughout the country. Dave Matthews, Margo Price and the three founders comprise the Farm Aid Board of Directors.

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