October 15, 2003
Reduction in Quarantine for Exotic Newcastle Disease
Oct. 2003 -- Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman announced on Aug. 4, 2003, that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has eliminated the last remaining areas of quarantine for exotic Newcastle disease (END) in Arizona, Nevada and Texas.
The quarantined area in California also has been reduced. This action removes restrictions on the movement of birds and poultry from these areas.
In a USDA press release, Veneman commended ?the efforts of the federal and state officials who have worked so hard to manage this disease. This is an example of what a state and federal partnership can accomplish in animal disease eradication.?
U.S./Mexico Trade Update
Oct. 2003 -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Services, Bill Hawks, in late August met with Javier Trujillo, Mexico's director chief of the National Service for Agricultural Health, Food Safety and Quality. Officials discussed several agricultural trade and sanitary/phyto-sanitary issues, including Mexico's new import regulations for sheep and goats.
Mexico is an important trading partner to the U.S. sheep industry; historically, most of the U.S. mutton supply has been shipped live to Mexico. The American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) has been working closely with USDA and industry groups since May on the issue.
According to USDA, over the past two months, Mexico has changed its import system to provide assurances that sheep imported from the United States are not diverted from Mexico's federally inspected slaughtering establishments. With this recent change, sheep have still been exported but under less flexible volumes and, at times, reduced volumes.
In early July, Mexico notified the United States that additional scrapie requirements would be imposed on sheep and goats presented for importation into Mexico from the United States. While Under Secretary Hawks and Director Chief Trujillo, as well as APHIS officials, have been discussing the details of Mexico's new requirements, they continue to work toward developing language that provides Mexico with the risk-reduction assurances it needs and that the United States can certify, based upon National Scrapie Eradication Program Standards.
Cost-Sharing for Emergency Programs
Oct. 2003 -- The Animal Agricultural Coalition (ACC) in late August learned that its request to extend the comment period on a July 8 Federal Register document entitled ?Cost-Sharing for Animal and Plant Health Emergency Programs,? was granted by Under Secretary William Hawks.
In a letter to the agency, the coalition requested more time to consider how the proposed changes will affect producer compensation, as well as how it will affect the time and processes involved in responding to an animal health emergency.
This particular Register document, published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture?s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), proposed new regulations that would ?establish criteria to determine the Federal share of financial responsibility relative to States and other cooperators in an emergency in which an animal or plant pest or disease threatens the agricultural production of the United States.?
APHIS believes that a better defined and more consistent approach to cost sharing and the allocation of financial responsibility among the Federal Government, State(s) and other cooperators would improve planning and funding decisions in emergency programs. They proposed that pre-determined cost-sharing percentages apply to certain emergency program activities. APHIS believes the fixed-formula approach would make resource planning decisions simpler for all parties and lessen the chances for delays in eradication.
ACC plans to offer carefully considered comments on the proposed rule to this shared responsibility. The American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) is a member of the ACC, which is a compilation of U.S. livestock associations working together for the betterment of the industry.
A 60-day extension to the initial comment period of Sept. 8 was granted. Comments will now be considered until Nov. 7, 2003.
To view the names of organizations and individuals who have commented on this Federal Register document, go to: http://www.aphis.usda.gov/ppd/rad/LPOC/02-062-1.txt