GFM Network News


COOL refers to laws requiring retailers to identify the country of origin for specific commodities.

COOL call alarms Canada

New USDA head ‘happy’ to work on WTO-compliant country-of-origin labelling laws

The likely U.S. secretary of agriculture says he’ll be “happy” to again advance country-of-origin labelling (COOL) policies. Tom Vilsack, during his Feb. 2 confirmation hearing of the Senate Agricultural Committee, confirmed he is open to reintroducing COOL laws – if they comply with World Trade Organization (WTO) standards. COOL refers to laws requiring retailers to

Tom Vilsack speaks to farmers at a rural agricultural co-operative at Guira de Melena in Cuba on Nov. 13, 2015. (Photo: Reuters/Alexandre Meneghini)

Vilsack expected to return as USDA secretary

Washington/Chicago | Reuters — U.S. President-elect Joe Biden plans to nominate former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack for agriculture secretary, Axios reported on Tuesday, citing people familiar with the matter. The Biden transition office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the report. Vilsack, who led the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) under


Editorial: Biofuels fight

[Updated March 2, 2017]: What would a world with another five billion bushels of corn on the market look like? I am willing to bet that the grain growers among our readership just felt a small blood pressure spike at the very thought, anticipating dramatically lower crop prices. That figure represents the portion of the

Broiler chicken

USDA faces backlash over proposed rules

Chicken processors are crying foul over moves aimed to protect producers

The U.S. Department of Agriculture proposed rules Dec. 14 it said will help protect chicken producers from mistreatment by the small group of meat companies that control most of the country’s production. With only a few weeks left to the Obama administration, the agency clarified that individual farmers who feel they have been treated unfairly do

U.S. Chief Agricultural Negotiator Darci Vetter told reporters in Washington, D.C. April 25 that the U.S. government is pushing Canada for regulatory changes so American wheat exported to Canada is graded on the same basis as Canadian wheat.

U.S. pressuring Canada on grain grading

Grain companies say current regulations are no impediment

U.S. officials say this country’s grain-grading system is to blame for why American farmers living close to the border can’t take advantage of higher Canadian wheat prices. But Canadian officials deny claims by U.S. administration and U.S. Wheat Associates that Canada’s quality control system discriminates against imported U.S. wheat. Canadian officials concede imported U.S. wheat


Editorial: The upside of losing

It would appear that agri-industry is losing its two-decade-long battle to prevent labels on foods produced from genetically modified crops. This despite the millions upon millions of dollars poured into aggressive anti-labelling campaigns during state referendums on the issue. It has been a fascinating development to watch. Even as the pro-labellers successfully convinced legislators in

(Co-operator image by Shannon VanRaes)

MacAulay favours TPP deal, poised for trade fight with U.S.

Winnipeg | Reuters –– Canada’s new agriculture minister said Tuesday he likely will support the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiated by the previous government, and is inclined to retaliate against the U.S. over a long-standing meat-labeling dispute. The Liberal government, elected last month, has not taken a firm position yet on whether it will support TPP, which

Photo taken on July 28, 2015 from NASA’s Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8 showing algal blooms on Lake Erie.

Going against the flow on water quality issues

Strong leadership is needed to address problem of deteriorating water quality

As summer heats up so too will agriculture’s ongoing water quality problems. On July 10, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced that Lake Erie’s algal bloom will be “more severe in 2015” due to “historic rains in June.” On a scale of 1 to 10, forecasts NOAA, this year’s bloom will be 8.7,


U.S. Senate building

Progress on COOL, but Canada still threatening retaliation

U.S. Senate and Obama administration need to act quickly, warns Agriculture Minister Ritz

While the House of Representatives has voted strongly to repeal the country-of-origin labelling program, the Senate and the Obama administration need to act quickly as well, warns Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz. Otherwise Canada along with Mexico will be putting their case for retaliatory duties to a special meeting of the World Trade Organization Dispute Settlement

meat counter in a grocery store

Pressure mounts for changes to country-of-origin labelling

WTO ruling sets the stage for U.S. repeal of COOL

The United States has three months to repeal its country-of-origin labelling program on beef and pork imports before Canada and Mexico will proceed with billions of dollars’ worth of retaliatory tariffs on American goods. In the wake of the World Trade Organization’s final decision May 18 that COOL violates international trade rules, the House of