WASHINGTON – The US Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health and Inspection Service (APHIS) agreed to extend the comment period on a proposed rule to allow imports of beef from Argentina. APHIS will be taking comments on the proposed rule through Dec. 29.

“We appreciate USDA extending the comment period on their proposed rule for importing freshly chilled or frozen beef from Argentina into the United States,” Sen. John Hoeven said in a statement. “It is important to ensure that all stakeholders have sufficient time to review and assess any impacts these imports may have on our livestock industry.”

In August, APHIS announced plans to add the Patagonia Region of Argentina to its list of regions considered free of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) and rinderpest. But industry stakeholders in the US beef industry said APHIS' plan is flawed and put the health and welfare of US cattle herds at risk. Sens.  Hoeven and Amy Klobuchar wrote to USDA urging the agency to extend the comment period "to ensure the rule is properly assessed" given Argentina's history of FMD cases.

Klobuchar said in a statement that “...This extension will allow time to fully evaluate the implications of importing fresh and frozen beef from Argentina and I’m glad that the USDA has acted on our request.”