Proposed Changes To Labeling Rule

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced several initiatives during his address to the National Farmers Union (NFU) members gathered in San Francisco, Calif., for their 121st annual convention.

The first initiative is a proposed rule to better align the “Product of USA” or “Made in USA” label with what consumers associate the label with. The proposed rule allows the voluntary label to be used on meat, poultry and egg products only when they are derived from animals, born, raised, slaughtered and processed in the United States.

“American consumers expect that when they buy a meat product at the grocery store, the claims they see on the label mean what they say,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in a news release. “These proposed changes are intended to provide consumers with accurate information to make informed purchasing decisions. Our action today affirms USDA’s commitment to ensuring accurate and truthful product labeling.”

“This rule is about truth in labeling, plain and simple,” said NFU President Rob Larew in a news release. “For too long, family farmers and ranchers have been competing in a market where imported products were fraudulently labeled as a product of the United States. Thank you, Secretary Vilsack and USDA, for bringing more fairness for farmers and ranchers across the country.”

Secondly, Vilsack announced that USDA is investing $89 million in independent meat processors across the country to allow them to start and grow markets for family farmers. He also announced steps the agency is taking to create a more competitive marketplace for seeds and other agricultural inputs.

“It was an honor to meet with Agriculture Secretary Vilsack today,” said Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) President Gary Wertish. “The secretary understands that in order for rural America to grow and prosper, there must be equity with investments in urban America. Every time farmers sow seeds, they start the process of producing new wealth, which supports more than 431,000 jobs in Minnesota alone.

“The announced investment in meat processing and the steps to creating a more competitive marketplace are a continuation of the Biden-Harris administration’s work to strengthen family farmers and rural America,” Wertish added. “I am excited by the opportunities the secretary outlined for growing profits in agriculture and look forward to working with the administration to craft a new farm bill that works for rural Minnesota and family farm agriculture.”