New Mexico

A public hearing on proposed changes to the national bovine tuberculosis (TB) regulations will be held June 14, in Albuquerque, in the Racing Commission Conference Room, at 300 San Mateo NE, according to New Mexico Cattle Growers Association (NMCGA) President Jimmy R. Bason, Hillsboro.

"We are pleased that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recognized the importance of the proposal to producers, and at the urging of Rep. Joe Skeen, decided to hold a hearing that will give producers an opportunity to voice their concerns," Bason said. "I urge all cattle producers and feeders to attend and to comment on this proposal."

As proposed, the regulations could have a significant impact on beef producers, he explained. They include changes, such as requiring individual identification of stocker cattle in and out of states.

According to the USDA, the proposal establishes several new levels of tuberculosis risk classifications to be applied to states and zones within states. The proposal classifies risk with regard to captive cervids (deer and elk) and increases the amount of testing that must be done before certain cattle, bison and goats may be moved between states.

One area of particular concern, Bason noted, is the inclusion of Executive Order 12988, which would prohibit all state and local laws and regulations that conflict with the rule. In recent years, New Mexico and Texas have been able to protect their states' herds from huge imports of foreign cattle by utilizing state law. If these state laws are eliminated, states will no longer have the means to protect U.S. herds or human health and safety, he added.

The proposed regulations were published in pages 11912 to 11940 of the Federal Register March 7. A correction was published on pages 15877 and 15878 March 24. The documents can be found at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/ppd/rad/webrepor.html or at http://www.aphis.usda.gov. They are in 9 CFR Part 77, Docket No. 99-038-1, and the corrections are in 99-038-2.

For more information or copies of the proposed changes, contact the NMCGA office, at 505-247-0584.

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