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Editor:

With the introduction of HB 198, Wyoming could become the new leader for Country of Origin Labeling, or COOL. As a Wyoming rancher, I have long been an advocate of COOL. Even though it was included in both the 2002 and 2008 Farm Bills, Congress repealed COOL after the World Trade Organization ruled it was in violation of our agreements with other countries by giving domestic meat products an unfair advantage. When the WTO ruled against our ability to label our meat, the consumer lost their right to be informed, and the United States was forced to give up a piece of our national sovereignty. As of Aug. 1, 2016, the U.S. lifted its ban on fresh beef imported from Brazil, which has almost three times as many cattle as the US, with a much lower cost of production. By passing HB 198, we have a chance to send a clear message to Washington -- that Wyomingites want to know where our meat comes from and that producers want to have the ability to let the consumer know when they are purchasing beef raised in the USA. This only makes sense, as all of our other imports are labeled, from clothing to produce. Ranchers have an equal right to label our product, and this bill would be a great start. HB 198 will be heard in the House Agriculture Committee on Thursday and I encourage you to reach out to your local legislators ask them to support HB 198.

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WILMA TOPE, Aladdin

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