The National Cattlemen's Beef Association is reminding cattle producers that Dec. 29 is the final day to submit comments to the USDA regarding proposed changes to Argentine beef import rules.
The proposed rule would allow fresh and frozen beef from northern Argentina to be imported into the United States, which concerns NCBA due to Argentina's past cases of foot and mouth disease.
Because anyone, including Argentine interests, can submit comments on the proposal, NCBA Executive Director of Legislative Affairs Kristina Butts says U.S. producers' participation is necessary.
"It's very important from NCBA's perspective to make sure that U.S. cattle producers are also weighing in," Butts says. "Obviously we support trade, but it's got to be based on sound science."
NCBA's chief veterinarian and Washington, D.C., office have reviewed USDA documentation on the subject and have found some concerns, which will be raised in the comments, she said.
Previous statements from the NCBA indicated that the group was concerned that the USDA Animal Health Inspection Service's review of Argentina's FMD status were not fully researched, charging that APHIS ignored findings of a third-party review that found weaknesses in the methodology of the risk analysis that formed the foundation for the APHIS decision-making process.
A similar proposal earlier this year to import fresh beef from some Brazilian states was also opposed by NCBA and the National Farmers Union on grounds that it, too, could result in FMD contamination.