NCBA Battles USDA Over Argentina Beef ImportsFri, 03 Oct 2014 15:17:09 CDT
US cattle producers are expressing their concerns over the health and well-being of their cattle being impacted decisions being made by the US Department of Agriculture. In August USDA's Animal Plant Health Inspection Service published a proposed rule in the Federal Register to allow the importation of fresh and frozen beef and live cattle from certain regions of Argentina known to harbor Food and Mouth Disease (FMD).
National Cattlemen's Beef Association Executive Director of Legislative Affairs Kristina Butts is based in the nation's capital. She said NCBA has had conversations with USDA to share how they don't like what is being proposed.
"We're very supportive of trade, we really want trade, but that trade has to be based on sound science," Butts said. "And when you are looking at certain parts of the world that have struggled with a disease like Food and Mouth Disease, we do want to jeopardize our domestic health here for our animals in our herd, so we are strongly pushing back against the USDA's proposal."
Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays featured Butts on Friday's Beef Buzz. You can listen to the radio program by clicking on the LISTEN BAR below.
This follows an earlier proposal from USDA to allow the importation of fresh and frozen beef and live cattle from Brazil, which is also known for FMD. Butts said staff members of USDA have come to NCBA conventions and summer meetings to talk one-on-one with producers. This has allowed producers to voice their opposition to importing product from both Argentina and Brazil.
"We have strong concerns on the lack of safeguards that Brazil and Argentina can put in place just to make sure that disease is not brought into the United States, so we are going to do everything we can to continue to push back against USDA's proposals," Butts said.
The United States isn't the only country concerned over the safety of their cattle herd. Butts said this becomes a North American trade issue as both the Canadian and Mexican governments have also raised their concerns with USDA as well.
The comment period over the importation of beef and live cattle from Argentina continues til October 28th. Butts said NCBA is hopeful the comment period will be extended to allow the more time for the organization to work with third party scientists to help provide some scientific information to USDA on the potential danger and economic threat to the United States.
The Beef Buzz is a regular feature heard on radio stations around the region on the Radio Oklahoma Network- but is also a regular audio feature found on this website as well. Click on the LISTEN BAR below for today's show- and check out our archives for older Beef Buzz shows covering the gamut of the beef cattle industry today.
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