National Cattlemen's Beef Association Chief Veterinarian Kathy Simmons issued the following statement regarding the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service final animal disease traceability rule, which was announced by Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack Dec. 20.
"NCBA has been an industry leader in working diligently with USDA APHIS to ensure cattlemen's concerns are addressed in this new animal disease traceability program. We are encouraged by today's comments from Secretary Vilsack, and we are in the process of thoroughly reviewing the rule and sharing this information with our members.
"From the secretary's comments, NCBA is encouraged that many of the priorities of cattlemen and women have been considered in this final rule. Cattlemen and women are looking for a rule that does not come with additional costs and does not hinder the speed of commerce. Brands will be recognized when accompanied by an official brand inspection certificate as means of official identification for cattle. The rule will also allow flexibility in tagging procedures and paperwork. Most important to cattle producers is the Secretary's announcement of separate rulemaking for beef cattle under 18 months of age.
"Raising healthy cattle is a top priority for cattlemen. NCBA remains supportive of an animal disease traceability program for cattle health purposes. We commend APHIS for its efforts to listen to concerns of America's cattlemen in developing this traceability program. NCBA encourages the agency to continue working with industry leaders on this and all animal health issues."
NCBA has represented America's cattle producers since 1898, preserving the heritage and strength of the industry through education and public policy. As the largest association of cattle producers, NCBA works to create new markets and increase demand for beef. Efforts are made possible through membership contributions. To join, contact NCBA at 866-BEEF-USA or email@example.com.
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