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Changes benefit Idaho beef producers

Washington, DC - Secretary Mike Johanns has responded to concerns of Idaho Senator Mike Crapo and the rest of the Idaho delegation by delaying a provision of a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) rule that would have allowed for the importation of beef product over 30 months of age. The U.S. border has been closed to imports of cattle and some beef products from Canada following the discovery of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) in Canada. However, on Dec. 29, 2004, USDA released a final rule that would place Canada in the minimal-risk category for BSE and would provide for the resumption of trade of cattle less than 30 months of age and boxed beef over 30 months of age. Crapo spoke with Johnanns about the situation during a Senate Agriculture Committee hearing and the Idaho delegation also wrote to Secretary Johanns on February 2, 2005 expressing concern with the rule and the contradictory provision of the rule that would prohibit the importation of cattle more than 30 months of age while permitting imports of meat from these same animals. Secretary Johanns responded today by delaying this provision. "It is inconsistent to ban cattle over 30 months of age while allowing in boxed beef over 30 months of age, and this provision is detrimental to beef producers and the cattle industry as a whole," said Senator Crapo. "I appreciate that Secretary Johanns understands our concerns and has agreed to delay this detrimental portion of the rule. Work still remains to regain our beef export markets, but this is certainly a step in the right direction." FOR INTERESTED MEDIA: A radio actuality is available by calling 1-800-545-1267. Press 327 at any time during or after the greeting and instructions. You can also access the actuality through the Internet at # # #