AGRICULTURE

R-CALF USA opposes importation of Brazilian beef

ff_admin
Farm Forum

Billings, Mont. – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has issued a proposed rule to allow the importation of fresh and chilled beef from 14 states in Brazil, a country that had been plagued with the most contagious disease known to cattle – foot-and-mouth-disease (FMD).

Brazil had outbreaks of FMD as recently as 2005 and 2006, causing tens of thousands of cattle from Brazil’s herd of 183 million cattle had to be destroyed. Brazil’s cattle herd is more than twice the size of the U.S. cattle herd and is reported to be growing.

A 2008 study on beef trade by the U.S. International Trade Commission found that the price of Brazilian beef was half the price of U.S. beef.

“The fall in beef prices and resulting decline in U.S. production would translate into reduced returns for producers in the livestock and beef processing sectors,” USDA states in its proposed rule.

USDA further acknowledges that a risk remains for the introduction of FMD into the 14 states the agency wants to certify as eligible to export to the United States.

USDA stated that “as long as FMD is endemic in the overall region in South America, there is a risk of reintroduction from adjacent areas into the proposed exporting region.”

In 2011, Paraguay, which borders Brazil, reported an outbreak of FMD and a Brazilian journalist reported that after the outbreak, Paraguayan cattle were crossing freely into Brazil along a 254-mile stretch of the border and further reported no inspection crews at two border crossings.

Just one year ago, the United States learned that Brazil had failed for two years to provide notification that it had detected a cow with bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) that had died in 2010.

“This rule has the potential to break the U.S. cattle market and to infect us with FMD, a disease we’ve kept out of this country since 1929, said Herried area cattle feeder and former R-CALF USA director Herman Schumacher.

“This proposal is irresponsible and dangerous and we hope that every cattle producer submits comments to USDA to register their opposition to this rule,” Schumacher added.

The public has until February 21, 2014 to submit comments to USDA regarding the proposed rule. To comment by Internet, go to www.regulations.gov, type in APHIS-2009-0017, and click on “Comment Now!” Or, you can mail comments to: Docket No. APHIS-2009-0017, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737-1238.