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Where Montana stands

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Hanta Yo

Well-known member
Feb 11, 2005
Reaction score
South Central Montana
This was put quite eloquently.

Long-term solutions required

By Bill Donald, MGSA President

Since BSE was discovered in Canada, a tangled web of media hype, international politics, scientific investigation and economic theory have intertwined to create strong opinions and ample miscommunication in the cattle and beef industry.

After the events of the past months, one common theme has emerged—Montana ranchers do not want the border reopened in a way that jeopardizes their livelihood. Our livestock organizations are in agreement on this. Our differences, however, come from two different rationales. MSGA is concerned about economic impacts, while others promote fear in the safety of beef.

Other countries have closed their borders to U.S. beef exports because we had a case of BSE. They do not make the distinction it was not a native born cow. Based on this, it is important to establish rules for dealing with a minimal risk country. We must develop rules and protocol that instill confidence in our consumers and trading partners.

MSGA has demanded five very stringent requirements are met—based on sound science, economics and fair trade. We realize that eventually, trade will resume. And instead of demanding a complete and indefinite closure, we are asking that reasonable, realistic conditions be met.

To promote Canadian beef as unsafe because they have had BSE in their country is to set ourselves up for disaster if we ever have a native case in the U.S. The December 23 case, although of Canadian origin, was a shot across our bow. Industry experts agree it is quite possible that we will discover an indigenous case, and we must be prepared.

It is imperative to maintain consumer confidence in our beef. With the current food safety protocols in place, both in the U.S. and Canada, no infectious BSE agent ever reaches the food supply. Beef is safe.

To attempt to protect our markets by using hysteria and scare tactics will result in the shot going through our bow not over it.


Bill Donald is a rancher from Melville, and president of the Montana Stockgrowers Association.

The Montana Stockgrowers Association, a non-profit organization representing nearly 2,500 members, strives to serve, protect and advance the economic, political, environmental and cultural interests of cattle producers, the largest sector of Montana's number one industry – agriculture.
Has anyone seen the bill that was introduced into the Montana state legislature on country of origin labeling? From what I heard on the radio it requires store owners to post country of origin on all food if the origin country is known-- If not it must be placarded as Origin Country Unknown...
Yes, I can past a copy here. This won't work in MT as there is NO WAY anyone can prove where the meat came from. We don't have major packing plants, I am going to testify in Helena against it tomorrow.
HOUSE BILL NO. 406. I am for COOL but this is not the way to go about it. It just won't work.





NEW SECTION. Section 1. Short title. [Sections 1 through 5] may be cited as the "Country of Origin Placarding Act".

NEW SECTION. Section 2. Definitions. As used in [sections 1 through 5], the following definitions apply:

(1) "Department" means the department of labor and industry provided for in Title 2, chapter 15, part 17.

(2) "Honey" has the meaning provided in 50-31-103.

(3) "Label" has the meaning provided in 50-31-103.

(4) "Labeling" has the meaning provided in 50-31-103.

(5) "Package" has the meaning provided in 50-31-103.

(6) "Person" means an individual, partnership, corporation, company, society, or association.

(7) "Placard" has the meaning provided in 50-31-103.

NEW SECTION. Section 3. Labeling permitted -- when placarding required -- removal of label prohibited. (1) All producers, growers, and shippers of grains, honey, beef, pork, poultry, or lamb in this state are permitted to label each individual portion, piece, or package of grains, honey, beef, pork, poultry, or lamb in a conspicuous place as legibly, indelibly, and permanently as the nature of the commodity will permit, in a manner that indicates to an ultimate purchaser that the product was produced in Montana.

(2) Grains, honey, beef, pork, poultry, or lamb, including any package that contains any blending of foreign and domestic product, that is produced in any country other than the United States and offered for retail sale in Montana must be labeled with a placard in a manner that indicates to an ultimate purchaser the country of origin.

(3) If one of the products enumerated in subsection (2) is unlabeled and the retail vendor is unable to determine its country of origin, the product must be labeled with a placard as "country of origin unknown".

(4) All retail vendors engaged in the business of selling products that are labeled or identified as to country of origin are prohibited from willfully or knowingly removing the labels or identifying marks.

NEW SECTION. Section 4. Penalties. (1) A person engaged in the business of retail vending of grains, honey, beef, pork, poultry, or lamb who offers those products for sale without ensuring that the products are clearly labeled as to the country of origin, as provided in [section 3(2)], is subject to the following penalties:

(a) for a first offense, a vendor shall be fined an amount not to exceed $100;

(b) for a second offense, a vendor shall be fined an amount not to exceed $250;

(c) for a third offense, a vendor shall be fined an amount not to exceed $500; and

(d) for a fourth and subsequent offense, a vendor is guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction shall be fined an amount not to exceed $1,000. This offense is an absolute liability offense as provided in 45-2-104.

(2) A person engaged in the business of retail vending of grains, honey, beef, pork, poultry, or lamb who knowingly removes any labels or identifying marks from grains, honey, beef, pork, poultry, or lamb that is labeled as to the country of origin is guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction shall be fined an amount not to exceed $500 or be imprisoned in the county jail for a term not to exceed 6 months, or both.

(3) As used in this section, "knowingly" has the meaning provided in 45-2-101.

NEW SECTION. Section 5. Department authorized to adopt rules. (1) The department may develop, adopt, and administer rules for the efficient enforcement of [sections 1 through 5]. The rules adopted by the department may include but are not limited to:

(a) statements that delineate the difference between imported and unimported raw agricultural commodities for the purpose of [sections 1 through 5];

(b) the preferred labeling or placarding method for each commodity type identified in [sections 1 through 5]; and

(c) other rules that the department considers necessary to enforce [sections 1 through 5].

(2) The rules adopted to implement [sections 1 through 5] may not unduly restrict a person from conducting business.

COORDINATION SECTION. Section 6. Coordination instruction. If __Bill No.__ [LC 433] is passed and approved and if it reestablishes the made in Montana program within the department of commerce, then [section 2(1)] must read as follows:

"(1) "Department" means the department of commerce provided for in Title 2, chapter 15, part 18."

NEW SECTION. Section 7. Codification instruction. [Sections 1 through 5] are intended to be codified as an integral part of Title 30, chapter 12, and the provisions of Title 30, chapter 12, apply to [sections 1 through 5].

NEW SECTION. Section 8. Severability. If a part of [this act] is invalid, all valid parts that are severable from the invalid part remain in effect. If a part of [this act] is invalid in one or more of its applications, the part remains in effect in all valid applications that are severable from the invalid applications.

- END -
THEY passed the rules and it works here everyday.All BEEF imported carrys the FDA COUNTRY of ORIGN label.
Thanks Hanta Yo- I had been hearing about it but had not read it....Unless some outside suppliers went to the effort to get known origin beef, it might be tough....... Altho it may not be very good for beef demand- it would sure be an eyeopener for some consumers...

I know many around here, including myself were surprised in 2003 after the first Canadian cow was found when we questioned the local grocers and found that the majority of the beef coming into town was Canadian....

Sad state of affairs when you live in a major cattle producing state, but the residents can't buy beef from that state without buying whole beef.....
Oldtimer are you getting snow? It started here about half hour ago , was real big flakes and the sky was as dark as when a thunder storm is rolling in. :cowboy:
Big Muddy rancher said:
Oldtimer are you getting snow? It started here about half hour ago , was real big flakes and the sky was as dark as when a thunder storm is rolling in. :cowboy:

Sun is shining here-- Trees and everything were covered with frost- NW wind is really picking up now- and blowing frost around.....

Got back from Helena - attended HB 406 (Governor mandated COOL for Montana), standing room only. The people definitely for it was R-Calf, MCA, NPRC, Jeannie Charter (person fighting against the beef check off) and the all-natural beef retailer in Billings (can't remember their name). Anyway, how the governor has it written (and he WROTE it have no doubt, just needed someone else to introduce it) would definitely favor those who have "all natural beef" in Montana and those who sell to this retailer. I have figured out these people are out totally for themselves. They have No regards for the beef industry as a whole. A testimony I heard was a grassroots person who is very concerned. This person is a cow/calf operator, and their calves go outside the state to be fed. We all know when calves go to feeders, their tags are cut off and they have lost all identity. (Unless you retain ownership and it still is helpful to be there when your calves come off the truck). This person was concerned about their cattle coming back in as "unknown origin" even though they were raised in Montana. This is food for thought, this is why I don't believe it can work. This is something Schweitzer promised in his campaign, he is following through, even though it makes NO sense, but he made his promise. This is a "feel good" bill but will accomplish nothing. Other states who did the same thing in the past years Wy is one of them, and so is No. Dak. Their "cool" flopped because retailers cannot prove where their meat comes from. Their placards say "unknown". Boy, what a way to promote our beef!!!! Some people aren't looking at the "Whole" story and there is so much involved that there is NO WAY Montana can take care of it herself. We need to get real. I got such an eye opening experience in Helena I am in awe. I only realized those who come to fight for their rights in Helena are listened to, and believe me, those who are there for themselves and not for the U.S. Beef Industry as a whole are there in numbers. I've listened to people telling me grassroots makes all the difference in the world and they do...the committees want to hear from the grassroots. I don't know how HB 406 will turn out, I think we should know by Friday. Thanks for being interested and I probably gave you more information than you care about but I am grassroots and I have gotten p***** enough about the direction things are going that I had to go up there (Helena) to see how things are done, and try to make a difference myself.
Good for you Hanta YO. It takes a person not afraid to stand up for their convictions to do what you did. In a perfect world COOL would be nice but whether out of state for feeding or out of country it is hard to ID the meat thru the plant little lone the live animal. Calves raised in Montana, fed in Alberta and packer in Colorado would not be COOL of USA. :cowboy:
Hanta Yo- Thanks for the info-- I don't miss Helena a bit- used to spend several days there during each legislative session and each trip would leave me more in awe that anything ever gets accomplished.

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