Forty-nine advocacy groups representing the interests of family farmers, ranchers and consumers have requested another 60 days be added to the public comment period for a proposal that would require U.S. livestock producers to incur significant expense tracking animals that cross state lines. The comment period on the proposed “Traceability for Livestock Moving Interstate” is now scheduled to end on November 9th.
Judith McGeary, Executive Director of the Farm And Ranch Freedom Alliance and vice-chair of USDA Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Animal Health, says – the period for public comment coincides with the fall harvest and comes during the worst drought ever recorded in some major livestock production regions. She says – our farmers and ranchers are struggling to get their crops in and save their animals, and they need more time to assess the impacts of the proposed rule.
The letter to Secretary Vilsack points out that many farmers and ranchers are not online, slowing the speed of communication. Mark Kastel, Senior Farm Policy Analyst at the Cornucopia Institute says – we have a significant number of Amish and Mennonite members who can only be contacted by mail or through print publications. The proposal has also raised concerns about the economic impacts on both livestock producers and related businesses.