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December 13, 2023

Sec. Arthur Endorses Letter Asking to Pause New Beef Imports Rule

OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma Secretary of Agriculture Blayne Arthur added her signature to a letter urging U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to pause the implementation of a rule that would allow the importation of beef from Paraguay. Agriculture leaders from Texas, Nebraska, Missouri, Iowa, Ohio, Wyoming, and South Dakota joined Arthur in signing the letter.

The Importation of Fresh Beef From Paraguay, a final rule determined by USDA – Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, is set to go into effect Thursday, Dec. 14.

“While trade is important to our industry, disease risks and animal health are critical considerations in the process of building a trade relationship,” Arthur said.

Paraguay has been impacted by Foot and Mouth Disease in the past, most recently in 2012.

“We take foreign trade and animal health very seriously,” said Arthur. “Which is why beef imports from Paraguay have been historically prohibited.

“Oklahoma is one of the nation’s leaders in beef cattle production. An animal disease outbreak in the U.S. would severely impact the beef industry, taking a toll not only on consumers, but the farmers and ranchers who work to make sure we have the most affordable and safest food supply in the world.

“I join my fellow agriculture leaders in surrounding states opposing the importation of beef from Paraguay until USDA-APHIS completes a thorough and up to date inspection of Paraguay’s ability to mitigate animal disease risks.”