Monday, April 10, 2017
Groups Ask President to Shut Down USDA's Animal ID Road Tour
Billings, Mont. - In a joint letter addressed to President Trump and Acting Secretary of Agriculture Michael Young, four groups ask for the cancellation of the seven upcoming meetings scheduled by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to address the agency's plans to expand its Animal Disease Traceability (ADT) rule. The agency had only announced the all-day meetings less than 30 days before they were scheduled to begin in April.
Specifically, the groups ask that the USDA immediately halt any further action toward expansion of the existing ADT program, cancel the public meetings scheduled for April and May, and extend the comment period to allow a minimum 120 days for producers to provide written comment on the effectiveness of the existing ADT program.
The groups raise concerns that the USDA is attempting to expand the ADT so that it more closely resembles the agency's previously abandoned National Animal Identification System (NAIS), stating, "USDA received a clear message from United States cattle producers that the NAIS program - which this expanded ADT plan appears to mimic - was not acceptable. We do not see any changes in the cost-benefit to producers and we do not see evidence that producers' feelings towards an expanded ADT program has changed in any way."
The groups state the agency's meetings were hastily planned, that cattle producers were not given timely or adequate notice, and because the meetings are scheduled during the time of year when many cattle producers are busy calving, branding, artificial inseminating and moving to summer pastures, many producers will be unable to attend.
"Requesting producers to leave their operations for a full day for poorly noticed and ill-planned meetings right in the middle of the critical spring work confirms a severe lack of understanding by USDA of the realities facing United States livestock producers," the groups added.
The groups further state the USDA's road tour will be a waste of time and waste of tax dollars, contrary to the presidential directive that agencies reduce both their own expenses and the regulatory burden they impose on U.S. industries. The groups also express concern that the hastily planned tour is being conducted even before a new Secretary of Agriculture is confirmed.
The groups joining the letter include Farmers and Ranchers Freedom Alliance, R-CALF USA, South Dakota Stockgrowers Association, and Western Organization of Resource Councils.
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