Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller has reversed his earlier decision to shut down the use of Cattle Fever Tick spray boxes and will allow the boxes to reopen for a period of 45 days until a permanent solution is worked out.
“After working with representatives from the Texas cattle industry and our state and federal partners at Texas Animal Health Commission, USDA, and EPA, we have agreed to a short term compromise that will ensure ranchers have the option of exempting some cattle from the spray boxes and move us toward a more permanent solution for providing ventilation in the boxes as required by the federally-approved Co-Ral label,” Miller said. “Consequently, I am allowing the Cattle Fever Tick spray boxes to reopen as of today for a period of 45 days while I continue discussions with TAHC, USDA, and EPA on a long term solution. I am hopeful that these agencies will have that solution in place before the September 24th deadline.
“I appreciate the quick and professional response from USDA Under Secretary Ibach and I look forward to working with him to find a more permanent solution to this issue. I also appreciate the patience and input of our friends in the Texas cattle industry. I sincerely hope that together we can find that solution that will protect Texas cattle, serve the public interest and strengthen the position of the Texas beef industry as a world leader.”
“On Tuesday producers and staff from the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association joined other industry representatives from across the state in Austin to meet with Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller after he closed fever tick spray boxes,” said Robert McKnight, Jr., president of the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association. “We are pleased to report that because of that meeting and further collaboration with state and federal agencies, a compromise has been reached that will allow the spray boxes to reopen temporarily. According to a release by the Texas Department of Agriculture, the fever tick spray boxes will be opened for 45 days, starting Thursday, so long as ranchers are allowed to opt for another form of treatment for some of their cattle. This crucial step will allow Texas cattle raisers to continue to protect and care for their livestock and prevent the spread of cattle fever ticks while a permanent solution is implemented.”
In a statement last week Kim Olson, Democratic nominee for Texas Commissioner of Agriculture, said it “was troubling to read about actions taken by the current ag commissioner on behalf of TDA.”
“I am sympathetic to those ranchers who reported losing cattle because of alleged misuse of the pesticide. However, I also understand the severity of the issues caused by fever ticks and the authority of the Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) and USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) in treating affected animals. Closing the treatment facilities in a reactionary raid and ending their functionality as a tool in combating the fever tick crisis is certainly not the approach I would have taken.”