May 9, 2008
May 9, 2008 - "The mandatory price reporting (MPR) final rule is at the Federal Register," was the word more than 50 sheep producers from across the country received from Lloyd Day, administrator, Agricultural Marketing Services (AMS).
"There will be a phase in period once the final rule is posted in order to give those reporting data time to implement the rule," stated Craig Morris, Ph.D., deputy administrator, AMS Marketing and Regulatory Programs.
Day also acknowledged the industry's request for the department's approval of a lamb purchase program. The agency is currently evaluating the rationale for the request submitted by the American Sheep Industry Association.
"There is much need for product among the agencies that benefit from these purchase programs," said Day. "Therefore, we are working rapidly on the Section 32 request and look forward to working with the industry on this buy."
In yet another announcement from AMS, Kenneth Payne, chief of the Marketing Programs Branch, told the group that the American Lamb Board (ALB) has requested its second referendum be held in February 2009. Lamb board rules dictate that the ALB completes a second referendum within seven years after assessments began.
James Callan, associate administrator, Risk Management Agency, congratulated the industry for such a positive response to the Livestock Risk Protection-Lamb (LRP-Lamb) insurance product. This innovative product has seen participation levels well above those anticipated.
Of great concern to the sheep industry is the proposal of the U.S. Department of Agriculture to allow imports of live sheep and sheep meat into the United States from Argentina. John Clifford, DVM, deputy administrator, Veterinary Services, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), assured producers that the 11 controls Argentina has in place to manage animal movements are sufficient to control animal diseases in that country.
"With a risk-based approach to world trade, science will be the deciding factor on whether this trade agreement is finalized," stated Clifford.
Throughout the week, industry leaders shared with the department and with Congress their strong concerns over the proposal to import live sheep and sheep meat into the United States from Argentina.
Bill Clay, deputy administrator, Wildlife Services (WS), relayed the news that a hearing will take place on May 29 in Montana pertaining to the delisting of the wolf in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming. On April 28, animal rights groups filed a formal lawsuit against WS over this issue.
"The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will spend the rest of this year reviewing comments on the proposal of the registration of the two livestock protection products, M-44s and 1080," said Clay. "It is likely that the EPA will make their recommendation before the end of the year."
At the request of the department, a yearlong comprehensive programmatic review of WS is nearly complete. The preliminary findings show the department to be safe, effective and efficient.
"The final report will include recommendations designed to make an already safe program an even safer program," concluded Clay.
"If the 2009 request for international sheep genomics research is appropriated, the industry request from the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) will be funded," stated Steven Kappes, Ph.D., deputy administrator, Animal Production and Protection, ARS. "This program opens up research possibilities to identify more efficient animals and recognize health traits for production."
Andrea Morgan, DVM, associate deputy administrator, APHIS, reported that there has been a decrease in scrapie cases over the last fiscal year. In its effort to eradicate scrapie, APHIS is working on an enhanced surveillance plan to maximize the dollars available for this critical program. Morgan also advised producers to watch for the posting of a proposed rule that will simplify identification compliance as well as close some loopholes in the system.
"We are committed to doing everything possible with the dollars available to eradicate scrapie from our nation's sheep flock," said Morgan.
Concluding the meetings at the department was Bruce Knight, undersecretary, Marketing and Regulatory Programs. His message to producers was that he is pleased with the department's relationship with the industry and with the industry's commonsense approach to utilizing scrapie identification as the basis to accomplish 48-hour traceability. He reported that 32.1 percent of all the nation's premises are now registered.
"The sheep industry is very close to realizing 48-hour traceability," concluded Knight.
"We are very encouraged with the action underway by the department on mandatory price reporting and on the Section 32 authority for lamb purchase," commented Burdell Johnson (N.D.), ASI president. "It is also good to hear that trade protocols on breeding sheep to Mexico is moving forward." Staff contact: Peter Orwick, ext. 33