[Federal Register Volume 73, Number 171 (Wednesday, September 3, 2008)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 51353-51355]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E8-20374]



Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

9 CFR Part 78

[Docket No. APHIS-2008-0086]

Brucellosis in Cattle; State and Area Classifications; Montana

AGENCY: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION: Interim rule and request for comments.


SUMMARY: We are amending the brucellosis regulations concerning 
interstate movement of cattle by changing the classification of Montana 
from Class Free to Class A. We have determined that Montana no longer 
meets the standards for Class Free status. This action is necessary to 
prevent the interstate spread of brucellosis.

DATES: This interim rule is effective September 3, 2008. We will 
consider all comments that we receive on or before November 3, 2008.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by either of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov/fdmspublic/component/main?main=DocketDetail&d=APHIS-2008-0086 to submit or view comments and 
to view supporting and related materials available electronically.
     Postal Mail/Commercial Delivery: Please send two copies of 
your comment to Docket No. APHIS-2008-0086, Regulatory Analysis and 
Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road Unit 118, 
Riverdale, MD 20737-1238. Please state that your comment refers to 
Docket No. APHIS-2008-0086.
    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: Additional information about APHIS and its 
programs is available on the Internet at http://www.aphis.usda.gov.

Brucellosis Epidemiologist, Ruminant Health Programs Staff, National 
Center for Animal Health Programs, VS, APHIS, 4700 River Road Unit 43, 
Riverdale, MD 20737-1231; (301) 734-5952.



    Brucellosis is a contagious disease, caused by bacteria of the 
genus Brucella, that affects both animals and humans. The disease 
mainly affects cattle, bison, and swine; however, goats, sheep, horses, 
and humans are susceptible as well. 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, contained in 9 CFR part 78 (referred 
to below as the regulations), provide a system for classifying States 
or portions of States according to the rate of Brucella infection 
present and the general effectiveness of a brucellosis control and 
eradication program. The classifications are Class Free, Class A, Class 
B, and Class C. States or areas that do not meet the minimum standards 
for Class C are required to be placed under Federal quarantine.
    The brucellosis Class Free classification is based on a finding of 
no known brucellosis in cattle for the 12 months preceding 
classification as Class Free. The Class C classification is for States 
or areas with the highest rate of brucellosis. Class B and Class A fall 
between these two extremes. Restrictions on moving cattle interstate 
become less stringent as a State approaches or achieves Class Free 
    The standards for the different classifications of States or areas 
entail (1) maintaining a cattle herd infection rate not to exceed a 
stated level during 12 consecutive months; (2) tracing back to the farm 
of origin and successfully closing a stated percent of all brucellosis 
reactors found in the course of Market Cattle Identification (MCI) 
testing; (3) maintaining a surveillance system that includes testing of 
dairy herds, participation of all recognized slaughtering 
establishments in the MCI program, identification and monitoring of 
herds at high risk of infection (including herds adjacent to infected 
herds and herds from which infected animals have been sold or 
received), and having an individual herd plan in effect within a stated 
number of days after the herd owner is notified of the finding of 
brucellosis in a herd he or she owns; and (4) maintaining minimum 
procedural standards for administering the program.
    If a single herd in a Class Free State is found to be affected with 
brucellosis, the State may retain its Class Free status if it meets the 
conditions described in paragraph (b)(4) of the definition of Class 
Free State or area in Sec.  78.1. A State may retain its status in this 
manner only once during any 2-year period. The following conditions 
must be satisfied within 60 days of the identification of the infected 
    1. The affected herd must be immediately quarantined, tested for 
brucellosis, and depopulated; and
    2. An epidemiological investigation must be performed and the 
investigation must confirm that brucellosis has not spread from the 
affected herd. All herds on premises adjacent to the affected herd 
(adjacent herds), all herds from which animals may have been brought 
into the affected herd (source herds), and all herds that may have had 
contact with or accepted animals from the affected herd (contact herds) 
must be

[[Page 51354]]

epidemiologically investigated, and each of those herds must be placed 
under an approved individual herd plan. If the investigating 
epidemiologist determines that a herd blood test for a particular 
adjacent herd, source herd, or contact herd is not warranted, the 
epidemiologist must include that determination, and the reasons 
supporting it, in the individual herd plan.
    After the close of the 60-day period following the identification 
of the infected animal, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service 
(APHIS) will conduct a review to confirm that the requirements have 
been satisfied and that the State is in compliance with all other 
applicable provisions.
    Prior to the publication of this interim rule, Montana was 
classified as a Class Free State. On May 18, 2007, we confirmed the 
discovery of a brucellosis-affected herd in Montana. In accordance with 
Sec.  78.1, the State took immediate measures to maintain its Class 
Free status. However, on June 9, 2008, another brucellosis-affected 
herd was confirmed. With the discovery of the second affected herd 
within 2 years, Montana no longer meets the standards for Class Free 
status. Therefore, we are removing Montana from the list of Class Free 
States or areas in Sec.  78.41(a) and adding it to the list of Class A 
States or areas in Sec.  78.41(b).
    To attain and maintain Class A status, a State or area must (1) not 
exceed a cattle herd infection rate, due to field strain Brucella 
abortus, of 0.25 percent or 2.5 herds per 1,000 based on the number of 
reactors found within the State during any 12 consecutive months, 
except in States with 10,000 or fewer herds; (2) trace to the farm of 
origin at least 90 percent of all brucellosis reactors found in the 
course of MCI testing; (3) successfully close at least 95 percent of 
the MCI reactor cases traced to the farm of origin during the 12 
consecutive month period immediately prior to the most recent 
anniversary of the date the State or area was classified Class A; and 
(4) have a specified surveillance system, as described above, including 
an approved individual herd plan in effect within 15 days of locating a 
source herd or recipient herd. After reviewing the brucellosis program 
records for Montana, we have concluded that this State meets the 
standards for Class A status.

Emergency Action

    This rulemaking is necessary on an emergency basis to prevent the 
interstate spread of brucellosis. 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 rule 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.
    In accordance with the Regulatory Flexibility Act, we have analyzed 
the potential economic effects of this action on small entities.
    We are amending the brucellosis regulations concerning interstate 
movement of cattle by changing the classification of Montana from Class 
Free to Class A. We have determined that Montana no longer meets the 
standards for Class Free status. This action is necessary to prevent 
the interstate spread of brucellosis.
    A reclassification from Class Free to Class A status with respect 
to brucellosis will result in movement restrictions. Specifically, all 
bovine animals moved interstate, except those moving directly to 
slaughter or to quarantined feedlots, must test negative to a 
brucellosis test 30 days prior to interstate movement.
    Costs of brucellosis testing depend on a number of factors such as 
the location of the herd, veterinarian fees (subject to the 
veterinarian's discretion), and the laboratory blood test fee. Private 
veterinary practitioners in Montana charge an average of $6.00 per head 
for the test, including shipping and testing of the blood sample. In 
addition, there is a ``farm call'' charge that can range from $20 to 
over $200, depending on the distance traveled by the veterinarian and 
the number of animals tested. Based on these charges, the estimated 
average cost for brucellosis testing is between $7.50 and $15 per 
head.\1\ Considering the average value per head of cattle in Montana 
was $1,050 in 2007, costs to producers associated with brucellosis 
testing are expected to range between 0.7 and 1.4 percent of the value 
of the cattle moved interstate. Costs for any single herd owner will 
depend upon the volume of non-slaughter cattle that the owner moves 
interstate. Many operations are already bearing these testing costs; 
since June 11, 2008, 10 surrounding States have issued movement 
requirements in response to the Montana brucellosis findings that 
include a negative brucellosis test 30 days prior to movement.\2\

    \1\ Donch, Debra. National Brucellosis Epidemiologist, USDA/
APHIS/Veterinary Services. Information confirmed by Dr. Bret 
Thompson, Veterinary Medical Officer in Montana. Personal 
communication 7/31/08.
    \2\ Montana Department of Livestock. Testing Requirements. 7/28/
08. States include California, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, 
Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Washington, and Wyoming. 

    In 2001, about 818,000 head of cattle (excluding ones destined for 
immediate slaughter) were moved out of Montana to 22 other States, with 
the majority shipped to Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, South Dakota 
and Wyoming.\3\ These cattle represented about one-third of Montana's 
total 2001 cattle inventory. Assuming that a similar percentage 
currently moves interstate (other than for immediate slaughter or to 
quarantined feedlots), the estimated direct industry cost to Montana 
livestock operations of the State's reclassification from Class Free to 
Class A could range between approximately $6 million and $12 million 
per year.\4\ The upper value is less than 0.5 percent of the total 
value of the Montana cattle herd.

    \3\ Economic Research Service Data Sets. Interstate Livestock 
Movements: State-to-State Flows. Compiled in 2001 from State 
veterinary certificates. http://www.ers.usda.gov/Data/InterstateLivestockMovements/View.asp. No data were listed for many 
States, including the western States of Arizona, Nebraska, New 
Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah, or Washington.
    \4\ (2.4 million head)(0.33)($7.50 per head) = $5.9 million. 
(2.4 million head)(0.33)($15.00 per head) = $11.9 million.

    Additionally, Montana sellers of non-slaughter cattle to other 
States may face a price discount because of the State's loss of Class 
Free status. Various market factors influencing the price of cattle 
make it difficult to predict the size of the price discount.
    Despite the costs incurred by Montana operations, the overall 
economic effect of this action will be positive in preventing 
brucellosis from spreading to other States. Studies indicate the costs 
of producing beef and milk could increase by an estimated $80 million 
annually in less than 10 years if movement restrictions and other 
requirements of the Cooperative State-Federal Brucellosis Eradication 
Program were discontinued.\5\

    \5\ APHIS/USDA. ``Facts About Brucellosis.'' Animal Health, 
Brucellosis Disease Information. P. 2. http://www.aphis.usda.gov/animal_health/animal_diseases/brucellosis/downloads/bruc-facts.pdf. Accessed 8/4/08.


[[Page 51355]]

Impact on Small Entities

    In 2007, there were 12,400 cattle operations in Montana with a 
total inventory of approximately 2.4 million head. Industry statistics 
indicate that the average value of cattle in Montana for 2007 was 
$1,050 per head, yielding a total estimated cattle herd value of $2.52 

    \6\ National Agricultural Statistics Service/U.S. Department of 
Agriculture (USDA). Agricultural Statistics 2007. http://www.nass.usda.gov/Statistics_by_State/Montana/index.asp.

    Based on data from the 2002 Census of Agriculture and Small 
Business Administration (SBA) guidelines, we expect a majority of 
operations affected by the interim rule will be small entities. 
Entities that comprise the North American Industry Classification 
System (NAICS) categories of beef cattle ranching and farming (NAICS 
112111) and dairy cattle and milk production (NAICS 112120) are 
considered small if their total annual receipts do not exceed $750,000. 
The 2002 Census of Agriculture indicates that 99 percent of entities 
within NAICS 112111, and 89 percent of entities within NAICS 112120, 
earned less than $500,000 annually. Most, if not all, of the beef and 
dairy herds in Montana are considered small entities.
    The Animal Health Protection Act (7 U.S.C. 8301 et seq.) provides 
the statutory authority for APHIS to carry out operations and measures 
to detect, control, and eradicate brucellosis. While this change in 
status will result in additional requirements for interstate movement 
of cattle for Montana producers, the benefits of the restriction in 
preventing the spread of brucellosis to other parts of the United 
States outweighs the additional costs of brucellosis testing. APHIS 
does not expect additional costs to have a significant impact on a 
substantial number of small entities. This rulemaking is necessary on 
an emergency basis to prevent the interstate spread of brucellosis.
    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 

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.).

List of Subjects in 9 CFR Part 78

    Animal diseases, Bison, Cattle, Hogs, Quarantine, Reporting and 
recordkeeping requirements, Transportation.

Accordingly, we are amending 9 CFR part 78 as follows:


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

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

Sec.  78.41  [Amended]

2. Section 78.41 is amended as follows:
a. In paragraph (a), by removing the word ``Montana,''.
b. In paragraph (b), by removing the word ``None'' and adding the word 
``Montana'' in its place.

    Done in Washington, DC, this 27th day of August 2008.
Kevin Shea,
Acting Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
[FR Doc. E8-20374 Filed 9-2-08; 8:45 am]