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WLSB meeting addresses director search and animal disease traceability rule

Casper – With a wide array of topics to be covered during their Jan. 30 meeting, the Wyoming Livestock Board (WLSB) discussed the search for a new director and animal disease traceability, as well as estrays and abandoned animals.

“We are looking for new direction going forward,” commented WLSB President Liz Philp. 

Director search

In searching for a new director, the WLSB is seeking input from Wyoming’s livestock industry.

“We want to know what the livestock industry is looking for as we pursue hiring a new director,” Philp noted. 

Wyoming Farm Bureau Executive Vice President Ken Hamilton noted that a candidate with knowledge of state government and a background in the livestock industry is of utmost importance.

“The WLSB itself also has quite a few employees, so we need someone who has experience in running a crew,” Hamilton continued. “That is obviously a challenge.”
Jim Magagna, Wyoming Stock Grower’s Association executive vice president, added, “We want to be supportive as we move through the process of getting a new director who can continue the direction that the Board has started and the previous director implemented to some extent.”

Magagna added that the sooner a new director is found, the better for both the agency and the livestock industry.

Selection process

The Board has several options to pursue in selecting a new director.

“The position is an at-will position and the Board is not required to follow the recruitment system the state of Wyoming uses,” said Ann Peterson of the organization’s human resources department. 

The Board may utilize the state recruitment system, pursue their own recruitment process or select and appoint a director. 

“There are benefits to each option,” Peterson commented. “In the recruitment process, we may find someone who is a good fit that was unknown to the Board. It does take longer, however.”

During the meeting, the Board did not make any decisions to pursue one option over another.

Traceability

Wyoming’s participation in a cooperative agreement with USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service regarding the federally mandated Animal Disease Traceability (ADT) Rule was also discussed at the meeting.

The board was unable to reach agreement on whether or not they should accept the road map proposal presented by WLSB staff for a grant.

The grant funding could help Wyoming acquire federal funds to purchase equipment for livestock markets and veterinarians to be better outfitted to electronically gather animal identification data for interstate movement compliance. 

Official ID numbers are required to be recorded for disease and animal traceability purposes when the animals are moved interstate.

A three to three vote on the motion to pursue federal grant fund dollars for ADT means that the motion dies. Board members Liz Philp, Pat Cullen and Todd Heward voted in favor of pursuing the federal funding opportunity while Kellen Little, Bob Lucas and Donna Baldwin Hunt voted against the effort.

The Board did pass a motion to explore providing non-federal funds for producers and livestock markets to comply with the federal ADT Rule, possibly creating a state traceability program. 

Estray and abandoned

Also at the WLSB meeting, discussion was held on the increasing trend of unresolved estrays and abandoned animals Wyoming has seen these past several years. 

In addition, due to the drought conditions in 2012, the WLSB had anticipated a drop in livestock numbers in 2013 by 15 percent, creating the lowest number of livestock animals seen since the 1950s. 

Preliminary reports have shown that cattle inspection numbers were down by about 200,000 from last year and sheep inspection numbers have decreased by 50,000. The numbers of horses were also down significantly. 

This article was co-written by Madeline Robinson, assistant editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup, and Saige Albert, managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..