March 2, 2007
March 2, 2007 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has proposed in the Federal Register to amend the regulations to add the Patagonia South region of Argentina to the list of regions considered free of rinderpest and foot-and-mouth disease (FMD).
APHIS recognized in its documentation that the industry likely to be most affected by this proposed rule would be the U.S. sheep industry. Sheep production is the primary livestock production system in Patagonia South with 60 percent of Argentina's flock located in this region. In 2003, the region had 7.49 million sheep, 265,960 head of cattle, 12,731 pigs and 141,614 goats.
The government of Argentina forecasts that it would export an average of 13.2 million lbs. of sheep meat to the United States.
This week, the American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) submitted a response to this proposed rule recommending the completion of another economic impact analysis correcting the errors in the assumptions used and re-propose the proposed rule after addressing these important concerns. ASI urged APHIS to re-evaluate the special restrictions it also outlined in the rule.
In its comments, ASI stressed its support of APHIS' ongoing efforts to protect the United States against FMD and rinderpest. The introduction of either of these diseases in this country would have devastating effects on our animal agriculture.
To review the entire document presented to APHIS by ASI, go to www.sheepusa.org
. Producers and sheep associations can file their own comments electronically through the March 6, 2007, deadline. Staff contact: Paul Rodgers and Peter Orwick, 303-771-3500