A survey of agricultural producers in 27 states found farmers favor proposals to track the origin of livestock animals.
Extension public policy specialist Brad Lubben says he was surprised to see farmers not only support country-of-origin labeling but also think it should be required. The survey asked farmers if country-of-origin labeling rules should be mandatory, or voluntary.
Lubben says farmers favor so-called “COOL” labeling, and said the rules should be mandatory. Lubben says it’s clear farmers want the government to keep insurance and disaster-aid programs that protect them from unforeseen weather and other incidents. But he says farms are hard to lump into one group. The government ranks an operation as a farm if it brings in $1000 a year or more from the sale of farm products.
About 80 percent of producers make less than $100,000 dollars a year in sales. He says a tenth make between $100,000 and $250,000, and another ten percent fall into the category of more than a quarter-million in sales.
Lubben says some farmers are going to smaller specialty operations with a higher return, others are buying more land and operating bigger farms to get economies of scale and so future farm programs won’t cover them all. A lot of farm operations “are really of a size that may look for different things out of the farm bill than what we traditionally talked about when we think of commodity programs and safety-nets tied to production” according to Lubben. He says a majority of producers won’t benefit from those programs and may consider conservation-type programs more appealing and beneficial.