In what may be seen as a step back from its position for the past several months, the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) has decided to revisit its position on the Canada border reopening.
The NCBA Executive Committee has named a producer trade team that will travel to Canada to gather information, verify its BSE firewalls and determine the number of cattle that would potentially qualify for export. The trade team will visit Canada the week of January 17 and present it's complete report to NCBA membership at the annual meeting in San Antonio in February.
A NCBA spokesman says "the trade trip is not about food safety, but about protecting the interests of America's cattlemen and ensuring that the border is reopened in a manner that prevents economic harm to them."
Reiterating what several lawmakers said in Thursday's Senate confirmation hearing of Secretary of Agriculture nominee Gov. Mike Johanns, NCBA is asking that insist that by March 7 trade be re-established with Japan and South Korea and expanded in Mexico through negotiations between the highest level of government officials or further action will be taken.
NCBA is also requesting a FDA audit of Canada's compliance with its feed ban. The association is insisting USDA clarify the Canadian rule regarding the importation of heifers, age verification, procedures for importation of live cattle and other issues.