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OCM, NFU, NASDA take positions on Canadian border reopening

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HAY MAKER

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February 23, 2005
OCM, NFU, NASDA take positions on Canadian border reopening

Three national organizations Tuesday released their positions on the scheduled reopening of the Canadian border on March 7:

The Organization for Competitive Markets said Congress should overrule USDA, in light of “industry experts” who say producers could face a a potential $20 cwt. price decline, or $240 per head, if the border is reopened. OCM President Keith Mudd said, “USDA has not indicated any willingness to withdraw its final rule, even in light of the increasingly dismal economic forecasts if it proceeds to do so. It is time for Congress to step in and take decisive action that will protect U.S. producers from irreparable harm.”

Before the border is reopened, Mudd said, “we must have mandatory country of origin labeling in place, Asian export markets must be re-established at previous export levels,” and all Canadian cattle residing in the U.S. “must be located and permanently marked” so they can be “segregated” from the human food supply and the animal feed supply chain.


The National Farmers Union called for the border to remain closed, citing recent BSE discoveries in Canada, “and the uncertainty of how many additional cases may be detected.” NFU said it’s backing legislation introduced Monday by Reps. Stephanie Herseth (D-S.D.) and Barbara Cubin (R-Wyo.) that would keep the borders closed.

NFU also set several conditions for reopening the border. One of them is the “creation of a guaranteed economic safety net for American producers in case imports of cattle and beef products from BSE-positive countries undermines domestic profitability.”


The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture told USDA it should take several steps before the border is reopened “for all trade from Canada.” These include continuing the ban on imports of any beef from Canada 30 months of age or older; requiring an audit of the Canadian feed industry to ensure compliance with the feed ban; and since Canada “has announced it will be increasing surveillance of animals of geographic-and age-related risk, the U.S. should await the results of the increased surveillance.”
 

SASH

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Interesting that all these organizations have had about 20 months to make their views known and ten days before the border opens, they have decided to give their opinion.
 

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