Today, Rep. K. Michael Conaway (R-TX), Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, issued the following statement regarding legislation introduced by Senator Hoeven (R-ND) and Senator Stabenow (D-MI) that ties repeal of country of origin labeling (COOL) to both the elimination of existing market driven programs and the establishment of a so-called voluntary country of origin (COOL) labeling program for beef, pork, and chicken. This new voluntary program would operate under similar rules as the program found to violate U.S. international trade rules.
The Ag Minute: House Responds to Critical Livestock Disaster Needs
Tamara Hinton, 202.225.0184
WASHINGTON – This week during The Ag Minute, guest host Rep. K. Michael Conaway discusses the recent efforts of the U.S. House of Representatives to address critical livestock disaster assistance programs that expired last year. In a bipartisan vote of 223 to 197, the House passed H.R. 6233, the Agricultural Disaster Assistance Act of 2012, which provides risk management tools to those producers currently exposed to drought conditions.
Click here to listen to The Ag Minute. The transcript is below.
"As a West Texan from cattle country, I know a little about droughts. Texas has had two straight years of record-breaking drought conditions. It is heart-breaking for all of us, but especially those who make their living raising livestock and growing crops.
"Currently, our livestock producers are in dire need of assistance. The 2008 Farm Bill did not provide a final year of disaster assistance, so those programs have expired.
"The U.S. House of Representatives responded to this need and provided a solution to this problem by passing H.R. 6233, the Agricultural Disaster Assistance Act of 2012 with a bipartisan vote. It reauthorizes those expired programs through 2012.
"This legislation is not a long-term solution, but it takes care of the problem until we can pass a five-year farm bill.
"But in order to make it law and provide this assistance to our farmers and ranchers, the Senate has to pass it, too.
"Unfortunately for our producers, the Senate closed up shop in Washington, D.C. without considering this legislation. I urge Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid to reconsider. The Senate needs to act quickly and pass H.R. 6233 so that we can get assistance to our producers now."
The Ag Minute is Chairman Lucas's weekly radio address that is released from the House Agriculture Committee.