Several Senators propose legislation, could benefit ranchers
NATRONA COUNTY, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - Senator Cynthia Lummis, along with five other US Senators, have reintroduced some legislation in Washington. It’s called the American Beef Labeling Act. If passed by Congress, it would reinstate mandatory country of origin labeling for beef.
Wyoming is home to more than 100 cattle operations. One of those operations is in Natrona County. It’s ran by rancher Rob Hendry and his family. Turning cattle in the field... To steak and burgers on the grill... Is definitely a process, as Hendry explains.
“Between us and the consumer... There’s, like, two other people. There’s that feeder, and then the packing plant... Whoever might be in there... And then it comes to the consumer. And, well, you got the retailer in there too. So there’s like three people in the middle of those calves.”
Under the current labeling system, beef can be raised in such places as Canada or Australia, but labeled as being from the US, as long as it’s packed here. And so Hendry says, it’s not all that uncommon.
“Our calves, when we sold them several years ago, we sold them to a guy that ran them as yearlings. Then they took them to Canada, and fed them in Canada. And then they brought them back into the US, and they processed them in Idaho. And then they got spread all over. Well... Are those Canadian cattle or are those our cattle? See, this is a very complex industry. And we’ve built it that way!”
Hendry believes the ability to track beef from farm to grocery store will be key... If the new legislation passes.
“We put this electronic ear tag in their ear. It’s got a specific number on it. And that goes in each calf’s ear when it leaves here. So (that) we can tell the consumer... We can tell anybody... Where that cattle... Where that calf was born... But which pasture it was born... And we can give it a range of date.”
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