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Guest Opinions

Input Needed for Future Management of Livestock

Written by Leanne Stevenson

By Leanne Stevenson, Wyoming Livestock Board Director and Chief Executive Officer

I am sure most of you reading this article have heard about the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)’s proposed traceability rule for livestock moving interstate.

The proposed rule was published in the Federal Register on Aug. 11 and requested comments from the public. The comment deadline was recently extended to Dec. 9, and it is crucial for livestock producers and those businesses supported by livestock industries to write comments and make their voice heard on this issue.

The proposed rule has the potential to directly impact Wyoming’s livestock industries and livestock movement to other states with indirect impacts to livestock support businesses. The Wyoming Livestock Board (Board) is drafting comments for submission on this controversial topic, and the board members, who represent the livestock producers in the state, would like to hear input from producers on this issue to assist them in preparing comments.
Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack claims there are four standard features of the new animal disease traceability program that would make it acceptable to farmers and ranchers. The four features are: it applies only to animals moved interstate; state and tribal governments will run the program; it will use low-cost technology; and it will be implemented only through transparent federal regulations using full rulemaking. You decide if they are acceptable and make your voice heard.

The Board is scheduled to receive an overview from Dr. Herriot, APHIS Western Regional Associate Director, at their meeting in Cheyenne the morning of Oct. 24. There will also be time for the Board to ask Herriot questions and to take public input. They would encourage any producers to attend their meeting and provide input for consideration for inclusion in comments sent from the Board.

Additionally, if producers cannot attend the meeting but would like to have the Board know your position and concerns, they would welcome written comments in the form of an email or postal mail. To be considered by the Board in their comments and discussion, our office must receive your comments no later than noon on Oct. 21. Email comments to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with a subject line of “Comments on Proposed Rule.” Send comments by postal mail to WLSB, 1934 Wyott Drive, Cheyenne, WY 82002 Attn: Comments on Proposed Rule.

For detailed information on the proposed rule, visit regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2009-0091. If you do not have web access, or just want a summary, contact our office at 307-777-7515 and we will provide them to you.