Nebraska Cattlemen address trade concerns

Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
Feb 7, 2005
by WLJ
After considering input from producers at four meetings across the state, the Nebraska Cattlemen Board of Directors developed a plan to address six primary concerns its members have related to the USDA plan to resume live cattle imports from Canada beginning March 7.
Those concerns include:
• Canadian feed rule compliance: NC membership has concerns regarding Canada’s compliance rate with the ban on feeding ruminant byproducts to ruminant animals. So, NC will actively investigate Canada’s compliance by: 1. Thoroughly reviewing reports from USDA’s trade investigation team currently in Canada and from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association trade investigation team; 2. Seeking additional documentation from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. If evidence to support the claims that Canada is in clear violation of the feed ban is found, then NC will work to immediately postpone the expansion of trade with Canada through Congressional action.
Surveillance Program: NC membership seeks clarification on Canada’s BSE surveillance program regarding: 1. How many animals have been tested; 2. How many animals are going to be tested; 3. How are animals selected for testing. If evidence is found that Canada is not testing aggressively and does not have a surveillance plan designed according to international standards, then NC will work to immediately postpone the expansion of trade with Canada through Congressional action.
• Market disruption: NC membership has serious concerns over potential disruption of the U.S. culled cow market by allowing beef from cattle over 30 months of age into the U.S. at this time. A potential situation for dumping cow meat is possible and should be avoided. NC requests that USDA remove this section of the rule. If USDA does not comply immediately, NC will pursue this goal through Congressional action.
• Exports Market: NC members have been discriminated against in the export market, specifically concerning Japan and the Asian rim. NC seeks immediate access to these markets and will actively pursue this objective through USDA, President George W. Bush, Congress, and the Japanese government. If Japan and other countries do not immediately agree to begin receiving U.S. beef, NC will seek trade retaliation actions.
• Harmonize Trade with Canada: NC calls for immediate correction of Canadian trade barriers regarding anaplasmosis and blue tongue. If USDA negotiations in harmonizing trade on these issues are not successful, NC will seek to postpone the expansion of trade with Canada through Congressional action.
• Monitor of Compliance with Proposed Trade Rules: NC requests documentation on how the proposed plan for expansion of trade with Canada will be policed regarding how cattle are handled, managed and processed and what penalties will be enforced for violations.
The NC Board also adopted a new interim policy intended to address concerns with inequitable trade. The policy states that NC will request the Bush Administration work diligently to negotiate an international agreement between a minimum of the U.S., Canada and Japan to formalize minimal risk rules for trade between BSE affected countries.
Nebraska Cattlemen President Tom Hansen, a fourth generation rancher, said, “NC officers and staff will be carrying out this new action plan so members can receive answers to their questions.” — WLJ