“Inhofe and Lucas Pen Letter to Secretary of USDA”

WASHINGTON, D.C.---U.S. Senator James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Congressman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) together authored a letter to the Secretary of Agriculture asking that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s current plan to reopen the U.S. border to Canadian cattle in March be delayed. Additionally, Sen. Inhofe and Rep. Lucas have called for phasing-in of the number of Canadian cattle allowed into the U.S. market, by age, over the course of the following six months.

We cannot afford to open the border at this time as there are simply too many unresolved issues vital not only to Oklahoma, but to our entire nation,” Inhofe said. “Ensuring the security of our nation’s food supply is my utmost concern. The USDA’s current plan to prematurely open the floodgates to live Canadian beef could seriously endanger the U.S. cattle market as well as disadvantage our Oklahoma producers. I look forward to working with Congressman Lucas and Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns to ensure that we reach a solution that is in the best interests of our state.”

“Our most important responsibility is the safety of the U.S. food supply and maintaining the confidence of the U.S. consumer,” Lucas said. “I believe USDA needs to rethink their rule on opening the border to Canadian live cattle. I don’t believe the border is ready to be opened, and I’m concerned American consumers will agree with me.”

Currently the U.S. Department of Agriculture is planned to reopen the U.S. Border to Canadian live cattle on March 7, 2005. Senator Inhofe and Congressman Lucas cite two concerns with the current reopening plan: consumer safety and fiscal equity.

In response to some of the issues brought to light in Senator Inhofe and Congressman Lucas’ letter to the USDA, the Senate Agriculture Committee has committed to holding a hearing on February 3, 2005 to discuss the live Canadian cattle issue as a whole. U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns will testify before the committee.

A copy of Senator Inhofe and Congressman Lucas’ letter, dated January 4, 2005 is attached to this press release. sts of our state.”