Livestock Board covers multitude of topics in discussion
Casper — The Wyoming Livestock Board (WLSB) met June 2 in Casper to cover a variety of topics including budgeting issues, Joint Ag Committee (JAC) updates, animal health issues and brand inspection and recording issues.
Among budgeting and steering committee updates was consideration of a federal Traceability Grant. Wyoming State Veterinarian Jim Logan commented that producers have expressed concern over taking federal money, feeling it would give the federal government more control over the state’s animal identification program.
“There’s no such thing as a federal grant without strings attached over time,” added Wyoming Stockgrowers Executive Vice President Jim Magagna. After additional discussion the grant was stalled for reconsideration after a more detailed explanation is heard from the Governor’s office.
Other budget items included an anticipated $90,000 shortage from under budgeting and a raise in fees. Discussion of a pilot computerization program was also heard.
Logan presented a draft bill on animal identification to the Board, noting there is producer interest in taking advantage of brucellosis and other mandatory tags already used within the state. Some board members opposed having the term “mandatory” included in the bill’s language.
Wyoming Wool Growers Executive Vice President Bryce Reece said the Wool Growers don’t support a voluntary program. “Without a mandatory program, the problem people will never participate,” he said.
A motion to support a voluntary program was denied, and WLSB President Bob Orchard assigned members to work on the bill and to get producer and organization feedback.
Logan also presented two other draft bills related to animal welfare – one for pets and companion animals and one for livestock.
“We’ve tried to protect the livestock industry’s common practices as well as ensure that livestock are private property. We’re trying to protect not only the animals, but also the animal owners from assault from animal rights activist groups,” he explained.
Of the pet and companion animal bill, he added, “If the Board doesn’t submit something, this will not die as an issue, but will come up again, and likely in a much more stringent way than producers would be comfortable with.” The Board passed both bills with slight modifications.
The Board covered several animal health issues, including a “vet fee” or reimbursement for booster brucellosis vaccinations on yearling heifers. Logan recommended setting the reimbursement between $2.50 and $3.50 per head. The Board chose $3.50 per head, and changed the title to make it more apparent the animal is considered an adult at vaccination. Reimbursement for custom slaughter plants in the state for blood sample collection on any animal over 12 months of age was passed at $1.50 per head.
An order on tuberculosis (TB) testing in breeding cattle and bison imported from Canada gained the Board’s approval, allowing breeding cattle and bison to enter Wyoming if they have one negative TB test within 60 days prior to importation. A modification was added to include bison bulls in feedlot situations. Previously a pre-test has been required with another test performed between 60 and 90 days before entering the state.
Logan updated the Board on the Chapter 15 trichomoniasis (trich) survey results to date, in which approximately 240 surveys shows the majority of producers feel trich is of significant importance to the Wyoming cattle industry and that prevention is key. Logan also covered any reportable disease investigations within the state and any disease outbreaks throughout the country that may be of concern to Wyoming.
Brand Program Director Lee Romsa presented multiple fee increases, including those associated with out-of-state range permits, A, B and H forms after the first 10 head and out-of-state G-Forms. When asked about the reasoning behind the fee increases, Romsa said brand inspectors will see some increases in mileage. “That money has to come from somewhere. There is also an equity issue as we are moving over 200,000 head on range permits at a very discounted rate. Those 200,000 head are moving for less than $30,000 today.”
The Board passed increased out-of-state range permits from 38 cents to 45 cents, in-state range permits from $50 to $60 and G-Forms to South Dakota from 75 cents to one dollar. The G-Form increase is on hold until any other revisions to the G-Form are made.
The topic of using a G-Form to ship from Wyoming to Crawford Livestock Auction in Crawford, Neb. was also discussed. Romsa provided comments from the June 1 meeting in Lusk, and several additional comments were made. Board member Eric Barlow suggested holding the issue until a clear definition of the purpose of the G-Form is determined.
“I’ve heard why we use it and I know we like it, but we haven’t defined what the purpose of the G-Form is. I think it’s premature to consider this prior to determining that and addressing the rules,” stated Barlow. A decision on going to Crawford with a G-Form was postponed until the rules can be addressed or until Crawford Livestock Auction sends a request.