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Brucellosis in Swine; Add Arkansas, Louisiana, and Michigan to List of Validated Brucellosis-Free States

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AGENCY:

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION:

Interim rule and request for comments.

SUMMARY:

We are amending the brucellosis regulations concerning the interstate movement of swine by adding Arkansas, Louisiana, and Michigan to the list of validated brucellosis-free States. We have determined that Louisiana and Arkansas meet the criteria for classification as validated brucellosis-free States. We are also adding Michigan to the list of validated brucellosis-free States as it is currently considered a validated brucellosis-free State, but was inadvertently omitted from the list. This action relieves certain restrictions on the interstate movement of breeding swine from Arkansas and Louisiana and confirms Michigan's current status as a validated brucellosis-free State.

DATES:

This interim rule is effective on November 18, 2004. We will consider all comments that we receive on or before January 18, 2005.

ADDRESSES:

You may submit comments by any of the following methods:

  • EDOCKET: Go to http://www.epa.gov/​feddocket to submit or view public comments, access the index listing of the contents of the official public docket, and to access those documents in the public docket that are available electronically. Once you have entered EDOCKET, click on the “View Open APHIS Dockets” link to locate this document.
  • Postal Mail/Commercial Delivery: Please send four copies of your comment (an original and three copies) to Docket No. 04-103-1, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3C71, 4700 River Road Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737-1238. Please state that your comment refers to Docket No. 04-103-1.
  • E-mail: Address your comment to regulations@aphis.usda.gov. Your comment must be contained in the body of your message; do not send attached files. Please include your name and address in your message and “Docket No. 04-103-1” on the subject line.
  • Agency Web site: Go to http://www.aphis.usda.gov/​ppd/​rad/​cominst.html for a form you can use to submit an e-mail comment through the APHIS Web site.
  • Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and follow the instructions for locating this docket and submitting comments.

Reading Room: You may read any comments that we receive on this docket in our reading room. The reading room is located in room 1141 of the USDA South Building, 14th Street and Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC. Normal reading room hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, except holidays. To be sure someone is there to help you, please call (202) 690-2817 before coming.

Other Information: You may view APHIS documents published in the Federal Register and related information, including the names of groups and individuals who have commented on APHIS dockets, on the Internet at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/​ppd/​rad/​webrepor.html.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Dr. John Korslund, Staff Veterinarian (Swine Health), Eradication and Surveillance Team, National Center for Animal Health Programs, VS, APHIS, 4700 River Road Unit 43, Riverdale, MD 20737-1231; (301) 734-5914.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

Brucellosis is a contagious disease caused by bacteria of the genus Brucella. The disease mainly affects cattle, bison, and swine, but goats, sheep, horses, and even humans are susceptible. In its principal animal hosts, it causes loss of young through spontaneous abortion or birth of weak offspring, reduced milk production, and infertility. There is no economically feasible treatment for brucellosis in livestock. In humans, brucellosis initially causes flu-like symptoms, but the disease may develop into a variety of chronic conditions, including arthritis. Humans can be treated for brucellosis with antibiotics.

The brucellosis regulations in 9 CFR part 78 (referred to below as the regulations) contain specific provisions for cattle, bison, and swine. Under the regulations, States, herds, and individual animals are classified according to their brucellosis status. Interstate movement requirements for animals are based upon the disease status of the individual animals or the herd or State from which the animal originates.

We are amending § 78.43 of the regulations, which lists validated swine brucellosis-free States, to include Arkansas, Louisiana, and Michigan. A State may apply for validated brucellosis-free status when: (1) Any herd found to have swine brucellosis during the 2-year qualification period preceding the application has been depopulated. More than one finding of a swine brucellosis-infected herd during the qualification period disqualifies the State from validation as brucellosis-free; and (2) during the 2-year qualification period, the State has completed surveillance, annually, by either complete herd testing, market swine testing, or statistical analysis.

Breeding swine originating from a validated brucellosis-free State or herd may be moved interstate without having been tested with an official test for brucellosis within 30 days prior to interstate movement, which would otherwise be required.

After reviewing their brucellosis program records, we have concluded that Arkansas and Louisiana meet the criteria for classification as validated brucellosis-free States. Therefore, we are adding Arkansas and Louisiana to the list of validated brucellosis-free States in § 78.43. This action relieves certain restrictions on the interstate movement of breeding swine from Louisiana and Arkansas.

We are also adding Michigan to the list of validated brucellosis-free States. In practice, Michigan is already being Start Printed Page 67502treated as a validated brucellosis-free State, as that State was previously determined to meet the criteria for classification as a validated brucellosis-free State. However, following that determination, we inadvertently neglected to add Michigan to the list in § 78.43. We are therefore correcting this omission by adding Michigan to the list of validated brucellosis-free States.

Immediate Action

Immediate action is warranted to remove restrictions that are no longer necessary on the interstate movement of swine from Louisiana and Arkansas, as well as to confirm Michigan's current status as a validated brucellosis-free State. Under these circumstances, the Administrator has determined that prior notice and opportunity for public comment are contrary to the public interest and that there is good cause under 5 U.S.C. 553 for making this action effective less than 30 days after publication in the Federal Register.

We will consider comments we receive during the comment period for this interim rule (see DATES above). After the comment period closes, we will publish another document in the Federal Register. The document will include a discussion of any comments we receive and any amendments we are making to the rule.

Executive Order 12866 and Regulatory Flexibility Act

This rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12866. For this action, the Office of Management and Budget has waived its review under Executive Order 12866.

We are amending the brucellosis regulations concerning the interstate movement of swine by adding Arkansas, Louisiana, and Michigan to the list of validated brucellosis-free States. As of January 1, 2004, 45 States, plus Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, were classified as validated brucellosis-free States. The States of Arkansas and Louisiana have been classified as Stage II States, but now meet the requirements for being listed as Stage III (validated brucellosis-free) States. Michigan is already considered a validated brucellosis-free State, but was inadvertently omitted from the list of validated brucellosis-free States in the regulations.

In 2003, there were approximately 1,000 hog and pig operations in Arkansas, with a total of 310,000 swine. The average value per head of swine in Arkansas was $64 with a reported cash value of approximately $19.8 million. In the same year, there were approximately 580 hog and pig operations in Louisiana, with a total of 20,000 swine. The average value per head of swine in Louisiana was $71 with a reported cash value of approximately $1.42 million. Arkansas and Louisiana, combined, account for less than 1 percent of the total value of hogs and pigs produced in the United States. The small business size standards for hogs and pigs, as identified by the Small Business Administration using North American Industry Classification System codes, is $750,000 or less in annual receipts. It is estimated that 74 percent of the hog and pig operations in Arkansas and nearly 100 percent of the hog and pig operations in Louisiana are small businesses.

This interim rule will grant swine producers in Arkansas and Louisiana validated brucellosis-free status. The rule will benefit breeding stock owners who will no longer have to incur the cost of brucellosis testing on sows and other breeding stock. The estimated cost of brucellosis testing ranges from $7.50 to $15 per animal, which includes veterinary and handling fees. Breeding stock was estimated at 79,079 swine and 4,062 swine for Arkansas and Louisiana, respectively. It is estimated that the proportion of hogs and pigs used or to be used for breeding by small entities is approximately 57.8 percent and 100 percent of the total breeding stock in Arkansas and Louisiana, respectively. The estimated number of hogs and pigs used or to be used for breeding purposes by small entities in Arkansas is 45,708 swine; the total cost savings for small entities in Arkansas would range from $342,810 to $685,620 if all those swine were to be moved interstate. The estimated number of hogs and pigs used or to be used for breeding purposes by small entities in Louisiana is 4,062 swine; the total cost savings for small entities in Louisiana would range from $30,465 to $60,930 if all those swine were to be moved interstate.

As of October 2004, the national average value of a sow was $207 per head. Thus, cost savings associated with suspending brucellosis testing for breeding swine to be moved interstate from Arkansas and Louisiana is roughly between 3.6 and 7.2 percent of the value of the animal.

Arkansas and Louisiana have been classified as Stage II States requiring annual testing of the breeding stock in its swine operations. However, Arkansas and Louisiana have met the requirements to be listed as validated brucellosis-free States. Michigan, currently considered a validated brucellosis-free State, is currently not listed in the regulations due to an oversight. This interim rule reclassifies Arkansas, Louisiana, and Michigan as validated brucellosis-free States. The change in the status of Arkansas and Louisiana would lead to cost savings to the breeding segment of swine production ranging from 3.6 to 7.2 percent of the value of the breeding herd if all breeding swine were to be moved interstate. APHIS does not expect cost savings of this magnitude to have a significant economic impact on affected small entity producers. The interim rule will have no effect on Michigan, as it has already been operating as a validated brucellosis-free State. This rule will not result in any additional costs for affected small entities.

Under these circumstances, the Administrator of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has determined that this action will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

Executive Order 12372

This program/activity is listed in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance under No. 10.025 and is subject to Executive Order 12372, which requires intergovernmental consultation with State and local officials. (See 7 CFR part 3015, subpart V.)

Executive Order 12988

This rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform. This rule: (1) Preempts all State and local laws and regulations that are in conflict with this rule; (2) has no retroactive effect; and (3) does not require administrative proceedings before parties may file suit in court challenging this rule.

Paperwork Reduction Act

This interim rule contains no information collection or recordkeeping requirements under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.).

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List of Subjects in 9 CFR Part 78

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Accordingly, we are amending

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PART 78—BRUCELLOSIS

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1. The authority citation for part 78 continues to read as follows:

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Authority: 7 U.S.C. 8301-8317; 7 CFR 2.22, 2.80, and 371.4.

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2. Section 78.43 is amended by adding, in alphabetical order, the words,

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Done in Washington, DC, this 12th day of November 2004.

Elizabeth E. Gaston,

Acting Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

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[FR Doc. 04-25600 Filed 11-17-04; 8:45 am]

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