U.S. Cattle Producers Oppose Opening Borders to Paraguayan Beef

(MAY 30, 2023) – The U.S. Cattlemen’s Association (USCA) wrote in strong opposition to a proposal by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA APHIS) to allow the importation of fresh (chilled or frozen) beef from Paraguay. 

In its comments, USCA cited several reasons why it opposes the proposed rule, including the need to protect the health of the domestic cattle herd, the estimated U.S. producer market losses, and the lower standards of production in Paraguay.

Specifically, the Regulatory Impact Analysis that accompanied the proposed rule estimated that U.S. producers would suffer losses of $12 million to $23 million each year due to the increase of Paraguayan beef imports.

The risk analysis also fully admits that “…a vaccinated herd may not mean all the animals in the herd are FMD free. This may result in beef from an infected animal being imported.”

USCA president Justin Tupper issued the following statement:

“The nearly ten-year gap since the last visit of USDA APHIS staff to Paraguay does not inspire conference in the strength of the country’s animal health and food safety protocols.

“The U.S. has been FMD-free since 1929. An outbreak of the disease in the U.S. would devastate the U.S. cattle and beef industry and significantly strain the nation’s food supply. Opening our borders to risky trade is a gamble I’m not willing to bet on. USCA requests the immediate recission of this proposed rule for all the reasons outlined in our written comments.”