USCA submits comments opposing Argentina beef imports

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Farm Forum

The United States Cattlemen’s Association (USCA) recently issued comments opposing the proposed importation of beef products from Northern Argentina. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal Health and Plant Inspection Services (APHIS) issued a notice on August 29th that would allow regions in Northern Argentina to resume imports of beef products into the U.S. USCA’s comments focused on the ongoing concerns of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) in the country and surrounding region.

USCA President Danni Beer, Keldron, South Dakota, commented on the proposed notice, “USCA firmly believes that the USDA-APHIS needs to take a step back from this proposed notice and consider the potential ramifications such action could have on the U.S. cattle industry.”

“The health of the U.S. cattle herd is USCA’s primary concern. The U.S. has maintained a status of FMD-free by the World Health Organization for decades; to put this status and the safety of our herd in jeopardy requires an in-depth and lengthy process, focused on producer and industry input. U.S. producers do not take the issue of FMD lightly and neither should the Administration.”

USCA’s comments focused on the proposed region’s proximity to areas within Argentina and South America still known to have FMD in addition to concerns regarding the impact of wildlife and the current protocol utilized by Northern Argentina for the detection and management of the virus. As stated in USCA’s comments, Argentina has had multiple detected cases of FMD since 2000 and “Every safeguard and prevention measure must be firmly in place before any discussions should be initiated regarding trade with a region or continent known to have FMD.”

Beer concluded, “The health of our country’s cattle herd is not worth the risk of opening trade with this region. USCA has requested the USDA-APHIS to reconsider the proposed notice for trade with Northern Argentina and will continue to oppose any action taken on this issue before industry concerns are properly addressed.”