Posted on 01/29/2013, 8:09 am, by Farmscape.Ca

The chair of Manitoba Pork Council reports Canadian and U.S. pork producers are on the same page when it comes to the issue of Mandatory U.S. Country of Origin Labelling.

Earlier this month a delegation representing Manitoba Pork Council took part in a trade mission that travelled to Minnesota for the Minnesota Pork Congress and to Iowa for the Iowa Pork Congress.

In addition to taking part in the trade shows members of the delegation met with fellow producers and representatives of government to discuss issues of common concern.

Manitoba Pork Council chair Karl Kynoch says one of the key issues that came up was the World Trade Organization’s recent rulings on U.S. Mandatory COOL.

One of the big tings that we did discuss this time was the Country of Origin labelling as the U.S. has had a May 23 date to come into compliance with it so we had a lot of discussion with our U.S. counterparts on COOL.

One thing that is very good to see is that the U.S. hog producers are on the same page as us.

They do not support COOL.

They want to see it resolved.

They’d like to see it fully resolved and basically go away by May 23 so some of our producers can again continue to rebuild those good business partnerships that they had before COOL came into place with raising the baby pigs on this side of the border and finishing them out in the U.S. so it was really good to see that we have a lot of support from the hog producers in the U.S. on trying to resolve COOL.

Kynoch notes U.S. Mandatory COOL has already cost the Canadian Pork Industry two billion dollars and the losses continue to mount at about 500 million dollars per year.

He acknowledges governments in both Canada and the U.S. have huge issues right now related to the financial crisis to deal with so in the big scheme of things Country of Origin Labelling is a small issue but, he stresses, for livestock producers this is huge and it needs to be resolved so agriculture can do its part in strengthening the economy.