WLSB looks at strategic planning, brucellosis in meeting
Cheyenne – In a three-day meeting held April 29 through May 1, the Wyoming Livestock Board (WLSB) took some important time to work on their strategic planning. They additionally held a business meeting to address brucellosis in elk, as well as several other topics.
“All in all, things went really well,” says WLSB Director Leanne Correll.
Correll continues, “We didn’t get quite as far along in the planning as we had hoped.”
However, she added that they initiated some important and good conversations between the WLSB and staff members.
After a lengthy discussion and word-smithing session, the WLSB revised its mission statement to read, “Serve and represent Wyoming’s livestock industry through protecting livestock health and verifying livestock ownership.”
“We will be working between the staff and Board on expectations and some other crucial components,” adds Correll.
In the meeting, the WLSB had hoped to write a mission statement, establish the primary functions and goals of the agency and to also set priorities based on the action items identified during their January meeting.
“We had some good conversation on the current situation in dealing with the elk brucellosis cases and assessing what the WLSB approach and actions will be,” Correll says.
Among their first actions, the WLSB will contact producers in the area to reach out on a proactive basis and assess risk.
“We are addressing and working with producers in assessing risk on a case-by-case basis,” says Correll.
The WLSB will work with producers on voluntary surveillance of herds that meet a threshold for risk potential and may suggest some initial baseline testing in herds.
Some of the costs will be deferred by the WLSB, including some veterinarian reimbursements. The funds will come from cooperative grant agreement money and is limited, so risk assessments conducted by the state veterinarian and the veterinary staff will determine the risk of each herd to decide where testing might be necessary.
“The discussions we had were really positive,” says Correll.
“Brand inspector mileage was the other big issue,” comments Correll. “The WLSB moved forward with making mileage payments for brand inspectors equal to the state rate.”
In the past, the WLSB has set a standard rate for brand inspector mileage payments. However, rates for the state have fluctuated, meaning brand inspectors have continually receive a lower rate. The state rates are set by the governor, who utilizes information from the Internal Revenue Service.
“They set an ‘equal-to’ status for brand inspector mileage with the state, but they still want the ability to review where we are at budget-wise in the future,” adds Correll. “Right now, the WLSB feels confident we have the ability to fairly compensate our brand inspectors for mileage .”
Additionally, the WLSB made some modification in their internal policies to reflect the recent changes to statute regarding delinquent brands.
The WLSB also took time to do a budget training to refresh continuing members of the board and also introduce new board members to the process.
“We don’t have any instruction right now from the state budget office as to what the exception requirements will look like,” she comments. “The WLSB will come back this summer in July and really get into the nuts and bolts of the budget and look at it for the future.”
Correll notes that the time spent in Cheyenne was positive for a number of reasons, and she is optimistic about the ability of the WLSB to move forward and continue to address the issues of Wyoming’s livestock industry.
“We have a really good Board that is looking at moving forward together with the new members,” she explains. “As the board grows together they will be addressing some of the concerns of the industry and looking at the issues.”
“There was good communication that occurred during the meeting, and it was very positive,” Correll comments. “We are looking forward to working with the new Board. We also encourage people to contact their Board members about what is happening in their areas.”
For more on the Wyoming Livestock Board, visit wlsb.state.wy.us.
Saige Albert is managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at email@example.com.