Letter to House and Senate Appropriations Committees

May 19, 2004

The letter below was sent to:

The Honorable Barbara Mikulski, Chairwoman
The Honorable Richard Shelby, Ranking Member
Committee on Appropriations
U.S. Senate

The Honorable Harold Rogers, Chairman
The Honorable Nita Lowey, Ranking Member
Committee on Appropriations
U.S. House of Representatives

Cc: Members of the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations
Cc: Members of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations

The undersigned 179 farm, rural, faith, environmental, labor, farmworker and consumer organizations respectfully urge you to support basic food labeling and to reject any attempts to defund or undermine Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL) law and regulations. Consumers want to know more, not less, about the origins of their food and using an appropriations rider to deny them that knowledge is unacceptable.

Efforts will likely be made to weaken COOL regulations and enforcement during Senate consideration of the fiscal year 2015 appropriations bill. Our organizations remain steadfast in their opposition to any legislative changes to COOL or attempts to prevent consumers from knowing the origins of their food.

There is no need to halt enforcement of COOL. Congress intended to maintain the current COOL labels when it refused to accept a provision that would have hamstrung COOL as part of the 2014 Farm Bill. We ask that you follow the leadership of the Senate Agriculture Committee in opposing any changes to COOL at this juncture. Furthermore, both the ongoing proceedings at the World Trade Organization and in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia have found that the goal of the COOL statute and current regulations uphold a legitimate public interest and the 2013 improvements to the rules brought COOL into compliance with our trade and domestic legal obligations.

Additionally, we ask that you speak favorably of COOL during Appropriations Committee hearings and markups. Farmers and ranchers are proud of what they produce and should be allowed to promote their products. Consumers deserve clear, direct and informative labels. Providing more accurate labels with more information is a win-win situation for producers and consumers.

COOL is extremely important to our organizations, and we oppose any appropriations language that would harm the integrity of the label. Thank you for your consideration of our request.

Sincerely,

Alabama Contract Poultry Growers Association

Alabama State Association of Cooperatives

Alaska Farmers Union

Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment

Alternative Energy Resources Organization (AERO) (MT)

American Agriculture Movement

American Federation of Government Employees (AFL-CIO), Local 3354, USDA-St. Louis

American Grassfed Association

American Raw Milk Producers Pricing Association

Arizona Consumers Council Foundation

Arkansas Farmers Union

Ashtabula, Geauga, Lake County (OH) Farmers' Union

Berks (PA) Gas Truth

BioRegional Strategies

Buckeye Quality Beef Association (OH)

California Dairy Campaign

California Farmers Union

Campaign for Contract Agriculture Reform

Campaign for Family Farms and the Environment

Caney Fork Headwaters Association (TN)

Carolina Farm Stewardship Association (NC)

Social Services Office-Catholic Charities of Central and Northern Missouri/Diocese of Jefferson City

Cattle Producers of Louisiana

Cattle Producers of Washington

Center for Earth Spirituality and Rural Ministry (MN)

Center for Food Safety

Center for Media and Democracy's Food Rights Network

Center for Rural Affairs

Central Co-op (WA)

Chicago Consumer Coalition

Church Women United of New York State

Citizen Action Coalition of Indiana

Citizens for Sanity.Com, Inc. (FL)

The CJD Foundation

Cleanwater Action Council of Northeast Wisconsin

Coalition for a Prosperous America

Colorado Independent CattleGrowers Association

Community Alliance for Global Justice (WA)

Community Farm Alliance (KY)

Community Food and Justice Coalition (CA)

Consumer Assistance Council, Inc.

Consumer Federation of America

Consumer Federation of California

The Consumer Federation of the Southeast

Contract Poultry Growers Association of the Virginias

The Cornucopia Institute

Cornucopia Network NJ/TN Chapter

Crawford Stewardship Project (WI)

Cultivating Community (ME)

Cumberland Countians for Ecojustice (TN)

Dakota Resource Council

Dakota Rural Action of SD

East New York Farms!/United Community Centers

Ecological Farming Association (CA)

Endangered Habitats League (CA)

Equal Exchange

Fair World Project (OR)

Family Farm Defenders (WI)

Farm Aid

Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance

Farmworker Association of Florida

Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund

Florida Certified Organic Growers and Consumers, Inc.

Food & Water Watch

Food Chain Workers Alliance

Food Democracy Now!

GardenShare (NY)

Grassroots International

Hmong National Development, Inc.

Hunger Action Los Angeles

Illinois Farmers Union

Illinois Stewardship Alliance

Independent Beef Association of North Dakota (I-BAND)

Independent Cattlemen of Nebraska

Independent Cattlemen of Wyoming

Indian Nations Conservation Alliance

Indiana Farmers Union

Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy

Interchurch Ministries of Nebraska

International Brotherhood of Teamsters

International Texas Longhorn Association

Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future (MD)

Kansas Cattlemen’s Association

Kansas Farmers Union

Kellyn Foundation (PA)

La Montanita Co-op

Label GMOs San Francisco

Land Stewardship Project (MN)

Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA)

Massachusetts Fishermen's Partnership, Inc.

Michael Fields Agricultural Institute (WI)

Michigan Farmers Union

Midwest Environmental Advocates (WI)

Midwest Organic & Sustainable Education Service (MOSES)

Minnesota Farmers Union

Mississippi Assoc. of Cooperatives

Missouri Farmers Union

Missouri National Farmers Organization

Missouri Rural Crisis Center

Missouri’s Best Beef Cooperative

Montana Farmers Union

Murray County (OK) Independent Cattlemen's Association

National Consumers League

National Family Farm Coalition

National Farmers Organization

National Farmers Union

National Grange of the Order of Patrons of Husbandry

National Latino Farmers & Ranchers Trade Association

National Organic Coalition

National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition

National Young Farmers Coalition

Nature Abounds (PA)

Nebraska Farmers Union

Nebraska State Grange

Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Society

Nebraska Wildlife Federation

Nebraska Women Involved in Farm Economics (NE WIFE)

Network for Environmental & Economic Responsibility of United Church of Christ

Nevada Live Stock Association

New England Farmers Union (CT, MA, ME, NH, RI, VT)

New Entry Sustainable Farming Project

N. Carolina Assoc. of Black Lawyers, Land Loss Prevention Project

North Dakota Farmers Union

Northeast Organic Dairy Producers Alliance

Northeast Organic Farming Assoc. - NH

Northeast Organic Farming Assoc. - NY

Northeast Organic Farming Assoc. - VT

Northeast Organic Farming Association, Interstate Council (NOFA-IC)

Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group

Northern Plains Resource Council (MT)

Northern Wisconsin Beef Producers

Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance (MA)

Northwest Farm Bill Action Group

Oglala Sioux Livestock and Land Owners Association (SD)

Ohio Environmental Stewardship Alliance

Ohio Farmers Union

Oregon Rural Action

Organic Consumers Association

Organic Farmers' Agency for Relationship Marketing (OFARM)

Organization for Competitive Markets

PCC Natural Markets (WA)

Peach Bottom Concerned Citizens Group (PBCCG) (PA)

Pennsylvania Farmers Union

Pennypack Farm and Education Center (PA)

Pesticide Action Network North America

Powder River Basin Resource Council (WY)

Public Citizen

R-CALF United Stockgrowers of America

Rio Grande Community Farm

Rocky Mountain Farmers Union

Roots of Change

Rural Advancement Foundation International — USA (RAFIUSA)

Rural Coalition/Coalición Rural

Rural Vermont

The Second Chance Foundation

Slow Food USA

Small Planet Institute

Social and Economical Development Project

South Dakota Farmers Union

South Dakota Livestock Auction Markets Association

South Dakota Sheep Growers Association

South Dakota Stockgrowers Association

Sustain LA (CA)

Tidal Creek Cooperative (Food Market) (NC)

Tilth Producers of Washington

Tooling, Manufacturing and Technologies Assoc.

U.S. Cattlemen's Association

United Church of Christ Justice and Witness Ministries

Virginia Association for Biological Farming

Virginia Citizens Consumer Council

Washington Farmers Union

Waterkeeper Alliacne

Western Colorado Congress

Western Organization of Resource Councils (WORC)

Western Sustainable Agriculture Working Group

WhyHunger

Wisconsin Farmers Union

Women, Food and Agriculture Network

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