Notice & Comment

USDA Proposes Changes To Rules Regarding Livestock Marketing Facilities, by Shannon Allen

The United States Department of Agriculture’s (“USDA’s”) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (“APHIS”) issued proposed changes to regulations regarding facilities that receive livestock moved in interstate commerce.  This proposed rule includes several amendments to the conditions under which livestock may move to such facilities without official identification. The goal is to update rules specifically regulating livestock marketing facilities in order to further aid in ensuring animal disease traceability of livestock transported in interstate commerce to such facilities.

9 CFR subchapter B focuses on Cooperative State-Federal programs for the control or eradication of disease of livestock; subchapter C addresses interstate movement of livestock to prevent the dissemination of disease of livestock in the United States (“The Regulations”); and part 71 states that the APHIS can approve a livestock facility to accept livestock transported interstate and facility approval requires the execution of an agreement with APHIS.  The APHIS believes the agreement in § 71.20 is antiquated because it contains provisions that were necessary when diseases of livestock were more prevalent in the United States. Thus, APHIS proposes the following changes to the regulations, including, but not limited to the following (by topic):

Approved Livestock Marketing Facilities – Replacing all references to “livestock facilities” with “livestock marketing facilities.” The the term “livestock marketing facility” describes different facilities (e.g. stockyards, auction barns, buying stations, etc.).  “Livestock  marketing facility” helps differentiate such facilities from other locations (e.g. slaughtering facilities, quarantine lots, feed lots, dairies, farms, ranches, etc.).

Proposed Revisions to Part 71 – Requiring all livestock marketing facilities, regardless of whether they have sought APHIS approval to allow APHIS to conduct operations in such facilities in order to detect, control, and eradicate disease of livestock, and maintain a record of the receipt, distribution, and application of all official identification devices and USDA-approved backtags at the facility.  The proposal would also remove the requirement that an accredited veterinarian be physically present at all times on sale days because it causes logistical problems . . . at some facilities.

Proposed Revisions to Part 86 – Clarifying that the exemption “no more than one” applies only to cattle and bison, transported interstate from their farm of origin to an approved livestock marketing facility.  Also, clarifying that the exemption “directly to an approved livestock marketing facility” applies only to cattle and bison moved interstate from their farm of origin to an approved livestock marketing facility.  If cattle or bison commingle with animals from different premises, there will be a greater risk of disease introduction and spread of disease of livestock.

Application of USDA-Approved Backtags – Requesting public comment regarding specifying a location for backtags.

APHIS asserts this proposed rule will not cause any significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities pursuant to the Regulatory Flexibility Act. However, without current data required for a comprehensive analysis of the effects of this proposed rule on small entities, APHIS seeks comment on potential effects.  Specifically, APHIS seeks input on determining the number and kind of small entities that may incur benefits or costs from the implementation of this proposed rule.

Interested parties are invited to submit comments on or before March 3, 2015, by either of the following methods:

  • Online: Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2014-0018; OR 
  • By Mail (Postal Mail/Commercial Delivery): Send your comment to Docket No. APHIS-2014-0018, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737-1238.

This post was originally published on the legacy ABA Section of Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice Notice and Comment blog, which merged with the Yale Journal on Regulation Notice and Comment blog in 2015.

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