Senator Walsh co-sponsors bill to protect livestock industry
September 5, 2014
In August Senator John Walsh cosponsored legislation that improves and updates Agriculture Department resources for Montana ranchers.
The American Livestock Protection and Ranching Opportunity Act establishes a Livestock Disease Initiative and authorizes $5 million annually to study bovine brucellosis and other livestock diseases. Walsh's bill also prohibits the import of foreign beef until the USDA certifies the exporting country is totally free of Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD).
"Montana ranchers produce the highest quality beef in the world," Walsh said. "This bill protects local ranchers by investing in brucellosis prevention and emphasizing country of origin labeling. We value our agriculture producers, they are stewards to the land in our great state, and our public policy should reflect that."
Montana ranchers applaud Walsh's leadership on this bill:
"We applaud Senator Walsh's work to address some major issues our members face on a daily basis," said Errol Rice, Executive Vice President of the Montana Stockgrowers Association."We look forward to working with Senator Walsh and take on brucellosis and increase disaster support for Montana's ranchers."
"Montana Farmers Union appreciates Senator Walsh's sponsorship of a bill that addresses the concerns and contributions of Montana's livestock producers," said Montana Farmers Union President Alan Merrill. "We value the Senator's multi-pronged approach that supports livestock disease research, protects Montana markets by maintaining our foot and mouth disease-free status, and provides a mechanism to make adjustments to the Livestock Forage Program. In addition, MFU members have long supported country-of-original labeling (COOL) and welcome the Senator Walsh's strong statement of support."
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"The most probable result will be that a FMD epidemic will crash the rural economy and seriously jeopardize this country's economic recovery," said Gilles Stockton, board member of Montana Cattlemen's Association."The proposition that we would import meat from counties with active FMD is just crazy. I commend Senator Walsh for being proactive on this issue and I hope his colleagues see reason and support this bill."
The legislation also assists ranchers with feed costs in the Greater Yellowstone Area when they are under government-mandated quarantines for brucellosis, requires USDA to use most recent and accurate market prices in the Livestock Indemnity Program, and provides price adjustments in the Livestock Forage Program for high-value feed to help ranchers through drought situations.
Walsh is the only member of Montana's congressional delegation on an Agriculture Committee.