United States Senators Marsha Blackburn and Bill Hagerty from Tennessee as well as Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell from Kentucky sent a letter on September 21, 2023 asking USDA-APHIS officials to extend the comment period on the new proposed rule issued in August.  The letter points out the significant economic impact the Tennessee Walking Horse industry has on Tennessee and Kentucky.  The proposed rule would  have drastic changes and would devastate the Tennessee Walking Show Horse and thus the majority of its impact on the economies of Tennessee and Kentucky.

The proposed rule sought input from stakeholders in many areas.  That input will be reliant on data from the past five years, data that will take time to accumulate and analyze as part of the comments on the proposed rule.  The letter points out the need for APHIS to allow ample and sufficient time for those impacted to gather evidence and information to submit detailed responses.

The senators ask APHIS Administrator Kevin Shea and Assistant Director Dr. Aaron Rhyner to extend the comment period by 60 days.  Currently the comment period will conclude October 21, 2023.  The senators letter seeking an extension follows other extension requests from The Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration and American Farm Bureau.