WLSB adopts board order related to cattle imported to feedlotsWritten by Saige Albert
“At the last meeting, I was directed to work with staff to develop a possible board order that would enable imported cattle to be identified on arrival,” Wyoming State Veterinarian Jim Logan told WLSB members during the Nov. 7 conference call. “Board order number 2012-02 titled ‘Cattle Entering Wyoming Destined for Approved Feedlots’ is the result.”
The order’s intent
The Board Order would allow cattle to arrive into Wyoming approved feedlots and be identified on arrival, as long as certain records were kept, giving more flexibility to interstate commerce.
“This order would let us go back where we were prior to our current Chapter 8 rules.” Logan added, “In my opinion, this Board Order addresses my concerns about the ability for us to trace cattle that come into our state to the state of origin in the case of a foreign animal disease outbreak.”
Logan noted that the order includes several supporting documents, including the approved feedlot application form and several appendices.
Board Member Albert Sommers of Pinedale voiced immediate concern with the order and its ability to verify that the necessary steps are taken in identifying cattle.
“My concern is that no one certified is assuring the state that these cattle are, in fact, identified,” said Sommers. “I want to make sure there is a process to get this done.”
“We want to ensure commerce, and I agree with that,” he continued, “but we need to have a process by which these actions are verified.”
Logan explained that feedlot management would be required to correlate newly identified animals with brand information, as well as health certificate verification and other relevant information. He also mentioned the Livestock Board personnel would be required to follow up on the process.
“There would be an actual checklist of things that we would look for,” Logan noted. “If a feedlot wasn’t in compliance, they would lose their approved feedlot designation. We are in the process of developing a compliance checklist.”
Board Member Pat Cullen also made suggestions about the use of current official identifications for compliance with the order.
While using the silver USDA tags that are distributed by APHIS seemed to be an attractive option for identification, Logan brought to light information that they are no longer required to be put in by accredited veterinarians.
“In the last seven or eight months, APHIS has relaxed the requirement allowing APHIS to distribute those silver tags to producers, similar to green Wyoming tags,” Logan explained, noting that utilizing the silver tags wouldn’t involve an accredited veterinarian necessarily.
In an attempt to approve the Board Order, Sommers also made an amendment, which would require that a health certificate be completed on arrival and departure from the feedlot.
“If there was an incoming health certificate and an outgoing form, we know that they were in compliance when they arrived and when they went out,” commented Board Member Eric Barlow of Gillette. “I know it would be an inconvenience, but they are getting a brand inspection or a G form, so I think it is a reasonable request.”
Additionally, because the second health inspection would only impact cattle entering feedlots from out of state without identification on arrival, Sommers noted that the window of cattle the order applies to is very narrowly defined.
However, Logan noted that cattle sent to auction markets receive health inspections on arrival and those directed to slaughter would be expected to pass a similar inspection, making the process duplicative.
“It will be very hard to track cattle that came in under this Board Order once they arrive,” Logan continued. “Once the cows get to the approved feedlot, they are likely sorted by weight, age, size, condition and other factors.”
The complexity of the process instituted by the amendment led to a failure of the amendment.
However, on a four to two vote, Board Order 2012-02 related to cattle entering the state was adopted by the WLSB, allowing cattle to be imported to approved feedlots within Wyoming without an identification of state of origin, provided the animals are identified on arrival.