WLSB discusses trichomoniasis board order
The Wyoming Livestock Board (WLSB) convened for a Feb. 11 meeting to discuss the many issues facing the livestock industry in the state, including updates to last year’s Board Order related to the trichomoniasis (trich) special focus area.
“We started talking about this Board Order in late March of 2012,” said Wyoming State Veterinarian Jim Logan. “The order pertains to a special focus area that we established in April of 2012 regarding trich testing in Uinta County, a large portion of Lincoln County and Sweetwater County south of I-80.”
In the Order, number 2012-03, Logan noted that several corrections were necessary to keep it up to date, but also noted that there was concern from producers about several of the requirements.
In its current state, the Order allows an exemption to be granted to seedstock producers within the special focus area. The exemption has resulted in confusion for many.
“I think the WLSB needs to consider whether or not you want to continue to have an exemption,” said Logan. “There were not very many requested or granted last year.”
Logan explained that he received exemption requests from producers within the focus area and producers outside of the focus area who were selling bulls into the area.
“Was the exemption meant to cover only those seedstock producers who reside within the special focus area?” asked Logan. “Furthermore, was it also meant to include seedstock producers who were selling bulls into the focus area and also may have been from outside of Wyoming? We essentially had all three types of exemption requests.”
The confusion extended even to members of the WLSB and will be considered in future drafts of the order.
“As a producer in Uinta and Lincoln County, I have been affected by trich,” explained Rex Weston, explaining that though his bulls were clean prior to turn out on a common allotment, they came back with trichomoniasis. “Are there repercussions to not following the rules?”
Weston’s concerns about enforcement of the WLSB Order were answered by Logan, who noted that it will continue to be important for the industry to monitor and provide information on non-compliance to the WLSB.
“The reality is that our ability to enforce the rule is limited, simply because of the size of the agency compared to the size of Wyoming,” said Logan. “Unless we have information coming to us from producers in a given area who are aware of non-compliance, then our ability to enforce is small. If we are notified, we will take action.”
After receiving tips, Logan noted that brand inspectors, veterinarians or law enforcement for the WLSB follow up, and the resulting penalties for non-compliance could result in citations and fines.
“We are never going to get it cleaned up in this area if people don’t sell their open or late cows and stop putting bulls in with open cows,” Weston noted. “There also has to be some follow up, too.”
Logan agreed that follow up is critical to solving the problem with trichomoniasis.
“There is a lot of confusion between the Order and the Chapter 15 rules,” said Weston. “That creates confusion for producers.”
Confusion with last year’s Board Order resulted in a number of questions from producers in the special focus area.
Producers from the special focus area were also concerned about the Board Order’s ability to effectively clean up trichomoniasis in cattle, particularly when bulls breach fence lines, commingle with female cattle and test positive for trich.
“Even if I require that the bull be tested, if it comes up with trich, it still just came out of my cows,” commented Weston. “Does that put me in a position to litigate?”
Weston noted that commingling with trich positive animals is expensive to clean up.
“I don’t understand how this helps to control the after-effect of commingling,” he added.
Producers on the call also told WLSB members that they would prefer an order that would eliminate the exemption for bulls under nine months of age and would provide for additional testing in those herds that run bulls with their females throughout the year.
Larry Johnson, a producer in the special focus area, said, “I think the under nine-month exemption is worthless. A lot of guys turn out bull calves and say they are under nine months, but they are still breeding cows.”
WLSB Director Leanne Correll additionally noted that the age requirement has put brand inspectors in a difficult position when they suspect bulls are older than producers claim.
“Some of our brand inspectors said they know that the bulls aren’t under nine months old and asked what can they do,” she explained. “We have to take producers by their word, and it has put our brand inspectors in a bad position.”
Moving forward, Logan suggested that the WLSB allow him the opportunity to continue working on language and develop the Order further to address producer concerns.
“I hope we can have something solid by the middle of March to go out so producers know what the requirements are going to be,” Logan said.
Delinquent Brand Fees
During the Feb. 11 Wyoming Livestock Board (WLSB) conference call, the WLSB discussed changes that have progressed through the legislature in House Bill 4 that allow rule making to establish a delinquent brand fee.
The brand renewal period ends March 1. New legislation allows for the WLSB to identify all brands not renewed by March 1 as delinquent. As such, the brands will be held and may be reissued to the previous owner until Dec. 31, 2013 by paying the renewal fee and a delinquent fee as established by the WLSB.
“The legislature has allowed the WLSB to set the delinquent fee up to $150,” said WLSB Director Leanne Correll. “If we set it too low, there is no incentive to renew brands early or on time.”
After a vote, the WLSB decided to proceed with emergency rules so there won’t be a lapse in time for brand owner’s ability to get a brand reissued and to set the delinquent fee at $150.
“We will also begin the rules promulgation process for the delinquent fee to be added to the permanent rules. During this process, the public will be able to comment on the fee,” said Correll. “It will go in as emergency rules now, pending the approval of the governor.”
To see the draft Board Order, number 2013-01, visit wlsb.state.wy.us/boardmembers.htm
Saige Albert is managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.