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R-CALF paints harsh picture for resident cattle producers

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HAY MAKER

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R-CALF paints harsh picture for resident cattle producers
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By Matthew Weaver
Herald staff writer





CAFTA, country of origin labeling included among topics of discussion

MOSES LAKE -- It's been a long hard summer for the American cattle producer.

That was the prevailing message during a meeting held by the Cattle Producers of Washington Thursday evening in the conference room at the Moses Lake Fire Department.

About 42 people gathered to hear Leo McDonnell, president and founder of the Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund, United Stockgrowers of America (R-CALF USA), which represents cattle producers on domestic and international trade and marketing issues, talk about a wide range of issues presently facing the nation's cattle producers.


"There's nobody in here that can say the cattle industry is winning or is a growing industry," McDonnell said, attributing losses in the industry to disparities in markets and trade. At a time when total beef consumption has grown and other major beef-producing countries have maintained their cattle herds or grown, the industry in the United States has shrunken, he said.

Issues include the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), which McDonnell called the latest in a line of liberal free trade agreements, following similar agreements with Australia and New Zealand. Next up will be the Andean Free Trade Agreement next spring, McDonnell said.

"Within the next two to three years, the U.S. cattle industry will be exposed to a major FTA with every major beef-producing country in the world," he said. "No industry in the United States has faced the amount of free trade exposure to competing products as you're getting ready to face if they're successful."

McDonnell added that those countries are high-producing countries, and there's not much in the way of beef consuming countries, like Japan, China, Korea and possibly even the European Union. In addition, U.S. cattle producers are locked out of many countries due to high tariffs.

McDonnell said that industry members need to take a look at the situation, be sure to get their issues on the table with government officials and ask to offset the trade distortions and level the playing field, maybe by getting rid of capital gains and keep tariff-rate quotas out of any more free-trade agreements until the rest of the world's tariffs come down to the nation's levels.

Another of R-CALF's tools to combat the commingled market is country of origin labeling, or COOL, which will be back in discussion this fall and is supposed to go into effect September 2006. Consumers believe that just because a product is labeled as having been inspected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, it is from the United States, which is not the case, McDonnell said.

The notion is a fairly radical change in the way trade is addressed, he said, because it means the a rancher puts his name on the product and is responsible for the product "instead of hiding it in a commodity market where it's blended with everything else. That scares some people."

McDonnell also addressed the Ninth District Appellate Court's recent overturn of a decision to keep the border between the United States and Canada closed, thus keeping Canadian beef out of the U.S. market. The decision to overturn was made because the appellate court agreed with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's science over R-CALF science, he said.

"What the appellate court said is that in points of dispute, the government is perceived as looking out for the best interest of the U.S. public and they will have deference over the private enterprise, scientist or whatever," he said. "If that don't scare the hell out of you, then I don't know what does, because they just rewrote the Constitution. This is no longer a government governed by the people, but a government governed by government agencies and bureaucracies."

But even with all of these issues, McDonnell concluded, great headway is being made.

"We're getting some nice changes on trade, if we can get over the fragmentation within this industry," he said. "The doors are starting to open up, but it's not for the weak of hearted ... Even though it's a long process, at the end of the day, if you stay engaged, do things right and on the offensive, you can come out a winner."

Cattle Producers of Washington representative Mark Ellis said the Moses Lake meeting was one of four taking place across the state, including another in Colville tonight. Ellis explained that R-CALF was bringing people up to date on their work, and also talk about the recent allowance of a cow over 30 months old that made it across the Canadian border.

"The USDA has assured us that the firewalls are in place, and they've got it all in hand, but it proved that they didn't get it over," he said. "There's things R-CALF is doing to try to bring to attention and make USDA adhere to their policies that they made, which they can't and they won't."

McDonnell's presentation met with enthusiastic applause from those in attendance.

Ritzville resident Bob Schoessler said he wanted to hear what McDonnell had to see, and see if anything new was developing.

"I think it is absurd that people would not back and want to know where their food source comes from," he said. "(That is) the one thing the human body needs. You can wear a shirt from anywheres, and maybe you can eat food from anywheres, but you should be entitled to know where it's coming from."

R-CALF member Dick Moore came from Spokane to hear McDonnell.

"We just want to try and help keep making things better for the producers around," he said. "Support is the main thing. We're not very well organized for doing anything but helping out the guys that can do something."

Sprague resident Monte McPeak is also a member of R-CALF.

"We don't get Leo in our backyard every day, so we wanted to come listen to him," he said, adding that he thinks most consumers do believe a USDA- stamped product is from the U.S. "I think that's a huge deal in our industry. I'd like to have our consumers know that it can be from anywhere. We really are supportive of the COOL thing, because we have to do something to differentiate ourselves from the rest of the world. I think as an American producer, we do a cleaner, better job than anybody in the world. Or as good as, or better."

R-CALF supporter, CPoW member and Royal City resident Bob Davis agreed with McPeak's assertions.

"The item about the meat in the grocery store case that you think as a consumer is from the U.S. because it says USDA, it could well have come from Argentina," he said.

Davis was pleased with the number of people in attendance.

"I'm happy to see so many people here," he said. "It's so important if it's your livelihood, and so many people don't pay attention."

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Denny

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Can you say cheap food thats what the "AMERICAN CONSUMER"really wants they could give a rats ass where it comes from the one's who care are a very fine minority and once the cost of food gets to high they won't care either.

Hey Hayseed have you ever had any money dealing's with your God Leo? I have what he says and what he does are'nt the same.....
 

HAY MAKER

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Denny said:
Can you say cheap food thats what the "AMERICAN CONSUMER"really wants they could give a rats ass where it comes from the one's who care are a very fine minority and once the cost of food gets to high they won't care either.

Hey Hayseed have you ever had any money dealing's with your God Leo? I have what he says and what he does are'nt the same.....

How would a nit wit,know what the american consumer wants,there has been poll after poll that sez what I have said the american consumer has a right to know where their food comes from,Some one like you that will eat any thing could'nt under stand this. ..................good luck henny,never did trust some one that would buy a damn russian tractor :mad:
 

agman

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HAY MAKER said:
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R-CALF paints harsh picture for resident cattle producers
Posted:
By Matthew Weaver
Herald staff writer





CAFTA, country of origin labeling included among topics of discussion

MOSES LAKE -- It's been a long hard summer for the American cattle producer.

That was the prevailing message during a meeting held by the Cattle Producers of Washington Thursday evening in the conference room at the Moses Lake Fire Department.

About 42 people gathered to hear Leo McDonnell, president and founder of the Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund, United Stockgrowers of America (R-CALF USA), which represents cattle producers on domestic and international trade and marketing issues, talk about a wide range of issues presently facing the nation's cattle producers.


"There's nobody in here that can say the cattle industry is winning or is a growing industry," McDonnell said, attributing losses in the industry to disparities in markets and trade. At a time when total beef consumption has grown and other major beef-producing countries have maintained their cattle herds or grown, the industry in the United States has shrunken, he said.

Issues include the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), which McDonnell called the latest in a line of liberal free trade agreements, following similar agreements with Australia and New Zealand. Next up will be the Andean Free Trade Agreement next spring, McDonnell said.

"Within the next two to three years, the U.S. cattle industry will be exposed to a major FTA with every major beef-producing country in the world," he said. "No industry in the United States has faced the amount of free trade exposure to competing products as you're getting ready to face if they're successful."

McDonnell added that those countries are high-producing countries, and there's not much in the way of beef consuming countries, like Japan, China, Korea and possibly even the European Union. In addition, U.S. cattle producers are locked out of many countries due to high tariffs.

McDonnell said that industry members need to take a look at the situation, be sure to get their issues on the table with government officials and ask to offset the trade distortions and level the playing field, maybe by getting rid of capital gains and keep tariff-rate quotas out of any more free-trade agreements until the rest of the world's tariffs come down to the nation's levels.

Another of R-CALF's tools to combat the commingled market is country of origin labeling, or COOL, which will be back in discussion this fall and is supposed to go into effect September 2006. Consumers believe that just because a product is labeled as having been inspected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, it is from the United States, which is not the case, McDonnell said.

The notion is a fairly radical change in the way trade is addressed, he said, because it means the a rancher puts his name on the product and is responsible for the product "instead of hiding it in a commodity market where it's blended with everything else. That scares some people."

McDonnell also addressed the Ninth District Appellate Court's recent overturn of a decision to keep the border between the United States and Canada closed, thus keeping Canadian beef out of the U.S. market. The decision to overturn was made because the appellate court agreed with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's science over R-CALF science, he said.

"What the appellate court said is that in points of dispute, the government is perceived as looking out for the best interest of the U.S. public and they will have deference over the private enterprise, scientist or whatever," he said. "If that don't scare the hell out of you, then I don't know what does, because they just rewrote the Constitution. This is no longer a government governed by the people, but a government governed by government agencies and bureaucracies."

But even with all of these issues, McDonnell concluded, great headway is being made.

"We're getting some nice changes on trade, if we can get over the fragmentation within this industry," he said. "The doors are starting to open up, but it's not for the weak of hearted ... Even though it's a long process, at the end of the day, if you stay engaged, do things right and on the offensive, you can come out a winner."

Cattle Producers of Washington representative Mark Ellis said the Moses Lake meeting was one of four taking place across the state, including another in Colville tonight. Ellis explained that R-CALF was bringing people up to date on their work, and also talk about the recent allowance of a cow over 30 months old that made it across the Canadian border.

"The USDA has assured us that the firewalls are in place, and they've got it all in hand, but it proved that they didn't get it over," he said. "There's things R-CALF is doing to try to bring to attention and make USDA adhere to their policies that they made, which they can't and they won't."

McDonnell's presentation met with enthusiastic applause from those in attendance.

Ritzville resident Bob Schoessler said he wanted to hear what McDonnell had to see, and see if anything new was developing.

"I think it is absurd that people would not back and want to know where their food source comes from," he said. "(That is) the one thing the human body needs. You can wear a shirt from anywheres, and maybe you can eat food from anywheres, but you should be entitled to know where it's coming from."

R-CALF member Dick Moore came from Spokane to hear McDonnell.

"We just want to try and help keep making things better for the producers around," he said. "Support is the main thing. We're not very well organized for doing anything but helping out the guys that can do something."

Sprague resident Monte McPeak is also a member of R-CALF.

"We don't get Leo in our backyard every day, so we wanted to come listen to him," he said, adding that he thinks most consumers do believe a USDA- stamped product is from the U.S. "I think that's a huge deal in our industry. I'd like to have our consumers know that it can be from anywhere. We really are supportive of the COOL thing, because we have to do something to differentiate ourselves from the rest of the world. I think as an American producer, we do a cleaner, better job than anybody in the world. Or as good as, or better."

R-CALF supporter, CPoW member and Royal City resident Bob Davis agreed with McPeak's assertions.

"The item about the meat in the grocery store case that you think as a consumer is from the U.S. because it says USDA, it could well have come from Argentina," he said.

Davis was pleased with the number of people in attendance.

"I'm happy to see so many people here," he said. "It's so important if it's your livelihood, and so many people don't pay attention."

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Once again lies and deception rule with R- Calf leadership. Leo begins his charade by confusing cattle inventory levels with beef production output. While cattle inventories in the U.S have declined approximately 29% from their peak in 1975 carcass weights have increased 31%. Until herd expansion in 2004 began beef production in the U.S. was at record levels at 27.2 billion pounds in 2002 (96.7 million cattle inventory) versus 23.7 billion pounds in 1975 when cattle inventories were record at 132.0 million head.
 

Denny

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HAY MAKER said:
Denny said:
Can you say cheap food thats what the "AMERICAN CONSUMER"really wants they could give a rats ass where it comes from the one's who care are a very fine minority and once the cost of food gets to high they won't care either.

Hey Hayseed have you ever had any money dealing's with your God Leo? I have what he says and what he does are'nt the same.....

How would a nit wit,know what the american consumer wants,there has been poll after poll that sez what I have said the american consumer has a right to know where their food comes from,Some one like you that will eat any thing could'nt under stand this. ..................good luck henny,never did trust some one that would buy a damn russian tractor :mad:[/quote

I would rather spend my money on cattle and horses than Foriegn made tractors covered in green paint.

You can do all the poll's you want but when it comes down to it the consumer is driven by price 1st.

Remember a poll is only as good as the people who take it.or give it.

All Hail King Leo
 

RobertMac

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Denny, organic foods market share is projected to go over $20 BILLION in the near future...12-15% of the market( I think I'm close to right on these numbers). Those aren't numbers to ignore...and the king of price 1st, Wal-Mart, hasn't ignored the trend. These consumers are paying more because they know where it comes from and how it was raised...and that's demand positive for beef!

You're right about the green paint...smaller JDs are assembled in, of all places, FRANCE!!!! :mad:

Agman, do your "beef production" numbers include imported beef? And what has the human population growth been between 1975 and 2004? Isn't that record production barely keeping up? And don't those big cows that produce those big calves that resulted in the 31% increase carcass weights have a bigger overhead cost resulting in lower producer income?
 

Twotimer

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Safeway just came up with a new packaging ploy -- "Rancher's Choice". What rancher, who knows? That's on top of the multiple organic brands they sell. Whole Foods Market and Harris Teeter are thriving and replacing the local chains. I noticed in Santa Fe that some of the restaurants serve Niman Schell organic beef. Consumers at the high end are not so undiscerning as you all keep trying to paint them. RM is correct, they drove the "whole foods" movt and now we see in the urban areas young people just starting out preferring Whole Foods Market as their main market. When the big chains are forced to introduce all manner of organic products to win back their customers, that tells the story.
 

Big Muddy rancher

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What you are saying is that if peole want "ID" meat be it Organic or some thing else it will be market driven not Government mandated. The USDA should insure that all meat sold in the US is safe. Let the market determine the selling points.
 

RobertMac

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Big Muddy rancher said:
What you are saying is that if peole want "ID" meat be it Organic or some thing else it will be market driven not Government mandated. The USDA should insure that all meat sold in the US is safe. Let the market determine the selling points.

Big Muddy, afraid to put your name on your product??? :lol:
I just think food should be subject to the same rules as all other imported products...only then can the market TRULY decide!
 

mrj

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Several posts here leave more questions coming to mind than they answer.

I agree totally with BMR in that ID should be market driven, not government mandated, BECAUSE it must be fully identified from producer through all handlers till it reaches the consumer, IMO. Simply saying "Product of country x,y, or z" does nothing to tell we consumers anything of importance about quality, safety, or anything of benefit to us.

Twotimer, could it be that what you see as a "packaging ploy" by Safeway is, in fact, their designation for a product they are buying from a group of ranchers. I believe that to be the case and will find out.

RobertMac, those upper-income consumers who want Organic labeled beef do not represent the bulk of the market for beef, do they? Surely it is important to pay attention to that trend. Just as it is important to pay attention to the trend of low income people in this country and maybe even more so (due to the vast numbers of them!) to the people in foreign nations emerging from poverty and wanting to eat US beef as they gain income to do so. We dare not overlook the fact that 94% of the world population lives outside the USA, and many of those people are improving their lives substantially. Don't forget those consumers choosing the organic products probably are choosing them as much for the higher quality than for the preceived "safety" of knowing where it comes from and how it was raised......which they CANNOT learn from the COOL label.

MRJ
 

Mike

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MRJ wrote:
I agree totally with BMR in that ID should be market driven, not government mandated, BECAUSE it must be fully identified from producer through all handlers till it reaches the consumer, IMO.

The main reason for ID is to allow APHIS to track animals in case of disease outbreaks, etc. The market won't drive that. You will still have holdouts, for one reason or the other.

COOL offered a near perfect solution; Make ID itself mandatory, but allow the "Cattle/Beef Industry" to decide what system to use and how to implement it.
THAT would have been totally "Market Driven" within the industry allowing eventual complete traceback for any other purpose as wanted or needed.
 

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MRJ, " Don't forget those consumers choosing the organic products probably are choosing them as much for the higher quality than for the preceived "safety" of knowing where it comes from and how it was raised......which they CANNOT learn from the COOL label."

MRJ, marketers know that perception is huge in marketing your product. Pay attention to advertisements - they are generally selling an image - a perception moreso than the product. COOL would give US producers a huge angle on a marketable perception.
 

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RobertMac said:
Big Muddy rancher said:
What you are saying is that if peole want "ID" meat be it Organic or some thing else it will be market driven not Government mandated. The USDA should insure that all meat sold in the US is safe. Let the market determine the selling points.

Big Muddy, afraid to put your name on your product??? :lol:
I just think food should be subject to the same rules as all other imported products...only then can the market TRULY decide!

Just who isn't willing to put their name on their product? Looks to me as if you are one of these label the imports and the rest will be US by default guys. So what if the consumer knows what country the animal was raised in, What about being able to verify what ranch it was born on and when in that country, like we do in Canada. By the way RobertMac every animal that leaves this ranch has an ID tag tracable to this ranch and this spring all the yearlings had their date of birth verified and audited by the CFIA. How many of the US producers can say that? When and if that meat leaves Canada it will be in boxes marked Product of Canada verifiable by that audited information. If they leave Canada still alive they will still have that tag with Birthplace and birthdate verification, our brand and a big CAN branded on the side so how can you say we don't put our name on our product. :roll:
 

RobertMac

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Tam said:
RobertMac said:
Big Muddy rancher said:
What you are saying is that if peole want "ID" meat be it Organic or some thing else it will be market driven not Government mandated. The USDA should insure that all meat sold in the US is safe. Let the market determine the selling points.

Big Muddy, afraid to put your name on your product??? :lol:
I just think food should be subject to the same rules as all other imported products...only then can the market TRULY decide!

Just who isn't willing to put their name on their product? Looks to me as if you are one of these label the imports and the rest will be US by default guys. So what if the consumer knows what country the animal was raised in, What about being able to verify what ranch it was born on and when in that country, like we do in Canada. By the way RobertMac every animal that leaves this ranch has an ID tag tracable to this ranch and this spring all the yearlings had their date of birth verified and audited by the CFIA. How many of the US producers can say that? When and if that meat leaves Canada it will be in boxes marked Product of Canada verifiable by that audited information. If they leave Canada still alive they will still have that tag with Birthplace and birthdate verification, our brand and a big CAN branded on the side so how can you say we don't put our name on our product. :roll:

Tam, if you truly wanted "Product of Canada" on your beef, you would be supporting R-CALF on COOL. But you can see through your hatred.
 

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Sandhusker said:
MRJ, " Don't forget those consumers choosing the organic products probably are choosing them as much for the higher quality than for the preceived "safety" of knowing where it comes from and how it was raised......which they CANNOT learn from the COOL label."

MRJ, marketers know that perception is huge in marketing your product. Pay attention to advertisements - they are generally selling an image - a perception moreso than the product. COOL would give US producers a huge angle on a marketable perception.[/quote]



I have to laugh at you guys and your marketable perception. Isn't your marketeble perception with the unverifiable COOL label and the BSE tested label just as much of a fraud as the USDA inspected label. You want a COOL label stating it is US beef and no way to verify other than it wasn't imported. Then we have the BSE tested label that is to leave the PRECEPTION of BSE free when we all know the testing that the USDA uses shows nothing in younger animals. And some how they are both better than a USDA inspected label that insures that the meat was inspected to meet all US standards and is safe to eat even though it may not have come from a US animal. Yes Sandhusker marketable perception is important but why is yours less of a fraud than the USDA's? Does your COOL and BSE tested label provide any assurances that the meat is safe?
 

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MRJ said:
Simply saying "Product of country x,y, or z" does nothing to tell we consumers anything of importance about quality, safety, or anything of benefit to us.

quality--USDA Quality Grade
safety--USDA Inspected Stamp
or anything of benefit to us--it would tell consumers which country the product came...additional information

MRJ said:
RobertMac, those upper-income consumers who want Organic labeled beef do not represent the bulk of the market for beef, do they?

No, but they represent a large portion of the consumers willing to pay higher prices for beef...which should mean better live cattle prices!


MRJ said:
Just as it is important to pay attention to the trend of low income people in this country...

Are you willing to take less for your calves so packers can offer below $1.00/lb beef to match chicken? :shock:

MRJ said:
...and maybe even more so (due to the vast numbers of them!) to the people in foreign nations emerging from poverty and wanting to eat US beef as they gain income to do so. We dare not overlook the fact that 94% of the world population lives outside the USA, and many of those people are improving their lives substantially.

Export markets are great! :D

MRJ said:
Don't forget those consumers choosing the organic products probably are choosing them as much for the higher quality than for the preceived "safety" of knowing where it comes from and how it was raised......which they CANNOT learn from the COOL label.

Has NCBA done a study to backup that information? :???:
 

Tam

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RobertMac said:
Tam said:
RobertMac said:
Big Muddy, afraid to put your name on your product??? :lol:
I just think food should be subject to the same rules as all other imported products...only then can the market TRULY decide!

Just who isn't willing to put their name on their product? Looks to me as if you are one of these label the imports and the rest will be US by default guys. So what if the consumer knows what country the animal was raised in, What about being able to verify what ranch it was born on and when in that country, like we do in Canada. By the way RobertMac every animal that leaves this ranch has an ID tag tracable to this ranch and this spring all the yearlings had their date of birth verified and audited by the CFIA. How many of the US producers can say that? When and if that meat leaves Canada it will be in boxes marked Product of Canada verifiable by that audited information. If they leave Canada still alive they will still have that tag with Birthplace and birthdate verification, our brand and a big CAN branded on the side so how can you say we don't put our name on our product. :roll:

Tam, if you truly wanted "Product of Canada" on your beef, you would be supporting R-CALF on COOL. But you can see through your hatred.

What do you mean "if you truly wanted "Product of Canada" on your beef," it is on our beef!!!!

you would be supporting R-CALF on COOL

The problem is that with your R-CALF flawed designed M"COOL", with no means of vertifcation because we don't want to burden the US producers with the expence of a ID system so just mark the imports, none of our beef would be labeled. As Food service food of which most imported beef goes to is EXEMPTED. If it is so important that the consumer have the right to know where their beef is coming from WHY ISN'T ALL BEEF LABELED?
 

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Gee RobertMac I thought R-CALF said the US didn't need to export as you can do just fine supplying your domestic market, with a little help from your friends of course as you don't have enough of your own to supply your domestic markets. Now here you are saying "Export markets are great! ". Tell us RobertMac just how will you supply export markets with out even more help from your friends? :wink:
 

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Tam said:
What do you mean "if you truly wanted "Product of Canada" on your beef," it is on our beef!!!!

Not in your almost only export market...USA!!! :shock: :eek:


Tam said:
Gee RobertMac I thought R-CALF said the US didn't need to export as you can do just fine supplying your domestic market, with a little help from your friends of course as you don't have enough of your own to supply your domestic markets. Now here you are saying "Export markets are great! ". Tell us RobertMac just how will you supply export markets with out even more help from your friends? :wink:

Tam, why doesn't Canada have major markets other than the USA???? Figure that out and you can answer your own questions. :wink:
 

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Tam said:
What do you mean "if you truly wanted "Product of Canada" on your beef," it is on our beef!!!!

Not in your almost only export market...USA!!! :shock: :eek:

It won't under your flawed M"COOL either or did you forget food servive food which most imported meat go to is EXEMPTED. :roll:

Tam" Gee RobertMac I thought R-CALF said the US didn't need to export as you can do just fine supplying your domestic market, with a little help from your friends of course as you don't have enough of your own to supply your domestic markets. Now here you are saying "Export markets are great! ". Tell us RobertMac just how will you supply export markets with out even more help from your friends? :wink:

Tam, why doesn't Canada have major markets other than the USA???? Figure that out and you can answer your own questions. :wink

We do have others but how does that answer the question of why you say Exports are great but R-CALF says you don't need exports? Besides you R-CALFer said once that "R-CALF filed in Billings because they could, why go out of State to file when you have a Federal court right across the street" . So I ask you Why would Canada go else where at added expense when the US has always been our largest most lucrative market and they are sitting just across an imaginary line on the ground.
 

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