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U.S. Department of Ag endorses new 'Product of USA' labeling rule

Brent Duerre

The United States Department of Agriculture has finalized the stipulations for companies voluntarily labeling their products “Product of USA.”

The department sought a way to increase consumer protection by laying out what exactly “Product of USA” means.

Farmers and agricultural groups have long sought tighter rules for labeling a food product “Product of USA.”Now, the Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources is moving forward with a plan to do just that.

Tom Vilsack is the U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary. He said the move bolsters trust and fairness in the agricultural marketplace.

“We are now on record as being for the utilization of that label, only, when that animal is born, raised, slaughtered, and processed in the U.S,” said Vilsack.  

Vilsack said farming across America has declined due to its inability to offer a sustainable wage.

“Why is it that 88% of American farmers have to work off the farm to be able to keep the farm?," asked Vilsack. "Why is it that the farmer has to work a second job? Why isn’t it that the farm doesn’t generate a second, third, or fourth income?”

He said despite the declining number in farmers across the United States, young farmers are continuing to seek ways to keep their family farm running. He said proper labeling will help American farmers increase their income.

The South Dakota Famer’s Union released a statement in support of the new law.

All three of South Dakota’s Congressional delegates publicly supported the labeling rule change.

Evan Walton is an SDPB reporter based in Sioux Falls. Evan holds a Master’s in English Literature from Southern New Hampshire University and was honorably discharged from the United States Army in 2015, where he served for five years as an infantryman.