Importation Order, DSA cattle, bison subject to ID requirements
A new Nebraska Department of Agriculture Importation Order for cattle and bison that originate from the Designated Surveillance Areas (DSA) in the Greater Yellowstone Area (GYA) states that all sexually intact cattle and bison shall be individually identified, effective April 1. This follows a similar importation order passed by Colorado in February.
“There will be some changes in the DSA, because our Chapter 2 rules require identification for all sexually intact females 12 months of age and older. Nebraska and Colorado will require identification to be in all sexually intact animals, regardless of age,” explains Wyoming State Veterinarian Jim Logan.
“I don’t think this should be a huge problem to deal with. We already have the green tag system that is distributed through the Livestock Board to vets and producers, at no cost to the producer,” continues Logan. He adds that vaccination tags, USDA bright tags, RFID tags and, in some cases, the Wyoming Business Council’s identification for Wyoming Verified beef may be accepted, on a case-by-case basis.
“We have green metal tags available, and producers can call the Livestock Board office at 777-7515 to get tags,” adds Wyoming Livestock Board Director Jim Schwartz. “The important thing is to make sure that, if tags are checked out to you, you’re the only putting them in your livestock, because the tags will give traceback to a ranch of origin.”
Logan adds that, while the tags are free, producers will be responsible for purchasing their own tag applicators.
“This order applies to cattle that are coming directly from the DSA area and are imported into Nebraska and Colorado, and also to any cattle that have spent time in the DSA. That doesn’t mean they have to originate there, but if, at any time during their life, they’ve been in the DSA, they’re also subject to this identification requirement,” says Logan.
“I think this will affect marketability, and the management on some ranches. They need to have these cattle identified as early as possible. Putting the tags in at branding would probably be the easiest and best way. Then, no matter what they decided to do with a heifer, she will be identified when it comes time to market her,” says Schwartz.
“I do have the concern that the rest of the state should be looking at some form of identification, as well,” continues Schwartz. “I encourage the entire state to put in tags, if possible, and a statewide identification system would help protect the industry.”
Schwartz adds that another concern is the idea of expanding the DSA.
“With greater impacts from wolves, the Wyoming Livestock Board must maintain a program to provide adequate brucellosis surveillance on a statewide basis. An animal identification system for the state may be a necessary tool to protect our marketability,” he says.
“We did a survey, and 83 percent of producers in Wyoming are in favor of having a good disease traceback system. We want a system that would work to provide both disease traceback and market protection. We probably have the best cattle in the U.S., and we need to protect our marketability,” says Schwartz of reasons the state should seriously consider a statewide identification program.
“The Livestock Board will meet April 5 and 6 in Cheyenne, and will consider a draft board order that pretty much mirrors the Nebraska and Colorado requirements, just so the people in the DSA will be very clear on the fact that cattle have to identified,” notes Logan.
He adds the order basically states that all sexually intact cattle leaving the DSA, regardless of age, will have to have approved identification.
“It would be the cleanest route if it passed. Otherwise cattle leaving the DSA could go to Douglas, for example. At that point, it will be up to that Douglas producer who purchased the cattle to put in identification, and that will become more complicated,” notes Logan.
Schwartz adds that while it was not done as a special classification, animal identification is expected to be discussed in depth by the Wyoming Legislature’s Joint Ag Interim Committee.
“They want an interim report on it, so I’m going to guess there will be lots of discussion on the issue,” he says.
“We have received the requirements from Colorado and Nebraska. We’ve also received requirements from North Dakota and Minnesota, and anticipate others will have similar requirements,” states Wyoming Livestock Board Chairman Eric Barlow.
“This issue will probably be presented to the board as a board order, and the board will take comments, and then choose to either act, or not act, on it,” says Barlow.
Heather Hamilton is editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.