LaVISTA, Neb. – In the face of more than $1 billion in retaliatory tariffs to be levied annually by Canada and Mexico against an array of U.S. products, including agricultural goods, the Nebraska Farm Bureau is urging Nebraska’s Congressional delegation and Congressional leadership to take immediate action to fully repeal the U.S. Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) program, said Nebraska Farm Bureau President Steve Nelson, Dec. 8.

“Farm Bureau supported the COOL program in the 2008 Farm Bill, and we continue to support efforts to implement COOL in a manner compatible with World Trade Organization (WTO) rules. However, it is clear that, with respect to beef, pork and poultry that will not be possible. Since Canada and Mexico are our second and third largest agricultural trading partners respectively, $1.01 billion in tariffs will be enormously costly to Nebraska’s farmers and ranchers,” said Nelson in a letter to Congressional leaders.

In addition to requesting Congress take immediate action, Nebraska Farm Bureau urged United States Trade Representative Michael Froman to work with his counterparts in both Canada and Mexico to delay implementation of the retaliatory tariffs.

“Delaying the tariff implementation would be a proactive step to give Congress the time it needs to act on COOL while helping avoid the damaging impacts of the tariffs on Nebraska farmers and ranchers,” said Nelson.

The Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation is a grassroots, state-wide organization dedicated to supporting farm and ranch families and working for the benefit of all Nebraskans through a wide variety of educational, service and advocacy efforts. More than 60,000 families across Nebraska are Farm Bureau members, working together to achieve rural and urban prosperity as agriculture is a key fuel to Nebraska’s economy. For more information about Nebraska Farm Bureau and agriculture, visit www.nefb.org.