WASHINGTON – The US Department of Agriculture announced the agency has opened seven temporary export inspection facilities to accommodate surging demand for live cattle exports.

USDA approved the temporary inspection facilities in response to increased demand for live cattle in 2011 from Russia, Turkey and Kazakhstan. USDA said the facilities reduce the distance animals must travel before export and help exporters meet strict shipping deadlines. Animals that receive approval through temporary facilities are inspected by USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and must meet the same animal health and welfare standards as animals exported through permanent facilities, according to USDA.

The temporary facilities have allowed APHIS to adapt to a level of cattle exports that doubled in 2011 in addition to a 50 percent increase in 2010, USDA said. The agency forecast 2012 agricultural exports to reach the second highest level on record. The forecast for livestock, poultry and dairy was increased $1.9 billion. USDA said it continues to work with exporters on upcoming shipments of cattle.