USDA Plans to Import Canadian Cattle

January 6, 2004--Posted at 7:00 p.m. CST

JONESBORO--A national organization is trying to beef up the cattle market. The U.S. Department of Agriculture plans to open the canadian border to cattle imports on March 7.

    Cattle producers are worried that this import might drive down cattle prices and increase the threat of mad cow disease.
    Steve Culp of the Jonesboro County Extension Office says, "There has been a lot of demand for beef, meat in particular, and the supply has not been able to keep up with it."
    The USDA has ideas to compensate for a short supply.
    They plan to import Canadian cattle, Why?

"It's trade. I mean we bring live cattle in, but look at all the dollars of meat that we sell to Canada," says Professor of Animal Science, Dr. Bill Humphrey.

Some experts say the decision to open up the Canadian border is a win, win situation.

They say if we dump more cattle into the market, the packers don't have to pay high prices and it won't cost you as much at the supermarket.

However, cattle producers are afraid it will cost them.

"Anytime you increase the supply above what demand is the prices tend to go down," Culp says.

"I think we will see a drop, but we will recover," Humphrey says.

There are mixed feelings across Region 8, but most say they expect the USDA to reconsider.

"They have done this before and were gonna release it but my feeling is that there going to recend this," Culp says.