From: TSS ()
Release No. 0414.05 Contact: USDA Press Office (202) 720-4623
NEBRASKA FARM BILL FORUM WITH AGRICULTURE SECRETARY MIKE
JOHANNS AND MODERATORS SUSAN LITTLEFIELD, KZEN FARM NET, KEN
RAHJES OF KRVN AND EMERY KLEVEN OF KOYL AT THE HUSKER HARVEST
DAYS IN GRAND ISLAND, NEBRASKA ON SEPTEMBER 15, 2005
MODERATOR: Thank you. Over here.
MR. BURTON BEARD: Burton Beard, I farm in southwest Nebraska. I would like to
thank the Governor and the Secretary for coming out here. My comment is we always hear
about we’re supposed to sell our products and that’s our main deal is selling overseas. I was
wondering why a company that wants to test for BSE is not allowed to go ahead and test and sell
their product, why the USDA says, no, you can’t do that. Thank you.
MODERATOR: Okay. Thank you.
One more over here.
SECRETARY JOHANNS: -- [in progress] -- the current state of the law is it is
mandatory. And somewhere out there, as your Secretary of Agriculture, if that’s the way it’s
headed, we will enforce the law. I told the Senate AG Committee, and that’s just the way it is. I
don’t have the option when you call me and say, oh, my gosh, Mike, what happened here? I’m
not liking what I’m seeing here. It is mandatory. I think I know a little bit about the
independence of farmers and ranchers and I would guess our phone will ring. But it is
The other thing in terms of very early on a lady got up and talked about Japan. Let me
give you and update on Japan. If you are in the beef industry, this is an important update. As
you know we’ve been working with Japan for some period of time now to get the borders
reopened. Japan and South Korea are the major pieces of our market that are not yet opened to
beef. We’ve had good success in other parts of the world in convincing people to really pay
attention to the science-based approach with BSE and reopening their markets. But Japan and
South Korea are two major parts.
I recently met with the new minister of agriculture from Japan and we literally went
through their chart of process that they go through with their Food Safety Commission and
literally they’re running out of process. I mean, we are getting to a point here where I can tell
you, and in fact at their last Food Safety Commission meeting in Japan, one of the members said,
we should have a written report to discuss at the next meeting. So I really do believe that we are
nearing the end of this process.
Now, I tell you that because I really believe that science is on our side and that border
needs to be reopened. I said that from the very first day I came in. We in the United States
shipped into the United States historically a small amount of Kobe beef. I don't know if you’ve
ever been to Japan you’ve probably had Kobe beef. But we closed our borders to their beef
products. And as you know, they have found BSE, I think they’ve found their 20th case in
Japan. And the issue there for us is, have they done the proper risk assessment? And without
going down into the weeds on that, we go through the same risk analysis that we would do with
any other country. But here is the very important point.
It would be disastrous if, you know a month from now Japan said, we’re ready to reopen our
borders, and called me and said, you know, we’re ready to go. We’re ready to receive U.S. beef.
How are you doing on that small amount of Kobe beef that is out there? We’re starting to think
maybe over here, well, wait until you get that done. You don’t want your Secretary to come out
and say, gosh, I’ve just gotten the signal, they’re ready to reopen their beef after two years at
work, and it nearly is two years. But I need another six, eight, ten, 12 months to get through a
rulemaking process on this small amount of Kobe beef that they ship into the United States.
So I am very mindful of the trade issues. I think I know where you’re coming from. I
know where you’re coming from. We are not letting their beef in today. And what you’ve been
reading about is the process that we are trying to put in place because, again, I do believe we are
nearing the end of their process and we are going to see a day where we ship that product in.
I’ll share a quick story with you about beef in Japan and beef in Taiwan. You will find
this interesting. In Japan, a few months back, they literally got down to a point where the coolers
were about empty of U.S. beef. And so this grocery store announced that they would be doing
rice bowls with U.S. beef. And they even charged more for these rice bowls with U.S. beef.
And they said, this is the end of the stock. You know what happened in Japan? People stood in
line to get our beef. The consumers are ready for our beef to return to their marketplace. And I
am more than willing to accommodate them.
In Taiwan, they opened their border for a short period of time. Then there was this last
animal out of Texas. When consumers got a hint in Taiwan that there was the potential that the
border would close to U.S. beef, people rushed to the butcher shops to buy all the American beef
they could get their hands on. The consumers are on our side on this issue. And I believe once
we get those markets restored, we are going to be able to aggressively return to that marketplace.
Johanns lies remind me of more old lies below;
THE only 'science-based approach' GW et al know at USDA is this stupid BSE/TSE MRR policy, a policy based on nothing more than commodities and futures, a legal tool to trade all strains of TSE globally. ...TSS