USDA extends comment period on Brazilian beef import proposal

Farm Forum

Back in December, USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service issued a proposed rule to amend current regulations and allow the importation of beef from 14 states in Brazil.

The proposal to allow Brazilian beef imports has brought a wealth of mixed reactions and concern from producers across the country, and as a result, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association asked for an extension of the comment period to thoroughly review the implications the rule may bring. APHIS obliged and the new comment deadline is April 22, 2014.

“This rule has major implications, not only on our relationships with trading partners, but also in relation to foreign animal disease management

within this country,” said Colin Woodall, vice president of government affairs for NCBA. “We need to make sure we know all the facts, we have all the data that USDA has used in formulating this proposed rule, and make sure we can adequately prepare comments that help us make the best decision on how we protect our domestic herd here in the United States.”

According to the USDA, the proposed regulation changes would allow the importation of chilled or frozen beef while continuing to protect the United States from an introduction of foot-and-mouth disease. However, there is concern stemming largely from whether Brazil is willing to put the protocols in place to ensure FMD is never introduced into the United States.

“We believe in the World Organization for Animal Health, we believe in taking down trade barriers, and we believe in making sure we have the opportunity for as much trade as possible,” said

Woodall. “But, we need to make sure we’re doing that without putting our own domestic herd at risk. No amount of trade is worth that. Over the next 60 days, we will be putting our questions and concerns into our comments in hopes that USDA will slow this process down and ensure those issues are addressed.”

NCBA encourages all cattle producers, especially NCBA members, to engage in this process and submit comments to USDA talking about their concerns.