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Ohio Farmers Push USDA to Enact Farm Bill Rules

September 9, 2008

Ottawa, OH – Their message is loud and clear: Put all the new U.S. Farm Bill rules into play. Nearly a dozen farming representatives from Ohio are in Washington, D.C., this week for the National Farmers Union "Fly-In Days." They're part of a group of more than 100 farmers and ranchers in the nation's capital to confer with agricultural regulators.

Ohio Farmers Union Executive Director Roger Crossgrove says with past farm bills, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) came up with excuses not to enact all parts.

"There was a lot of pressure by the grocery industry and other industries; they had trouble writing the rules; they felt it was too expensive--basically, it just got shoved off."

Crossgrove says he hopes that doesn't happen this time. The U.S. Farm Bill includes money for food relief, farm-based fuels, and disaster relief for fruit and vegetable growers.

Crossgrove says Congress has worked hard on this sweeping legislation and now is the time for the USDA to implement it.

"I hope the rules are written and it's implemented as passed through Congress, but that doesn't always happen. For instance, 'COOL' was four years ago, and has yet to be implemented."

COOL is mandatory country-of-origin labeling on meats and produce, which is expected to be enacted by the end of September. The requirement was included in the 2004 Farm Bill.

Mary Kuhlman/Chris Thomas, Public News Service - OH