WLSB elects new leadership, introduces new board members
Casper – On April 7, the Wyoming Livestock Board (WLSB) met to adopt several set of rules that were out for public comment and to receive updates.
In addition, during the meeting, the Board recognized the work of members Pat Cullen and Liz Philp. Both Cullen and Philp completed their terms with the WLSB and were replaced by Mark Eisele and Laurie Boner, respectively.
“Liz and Pat have played an important role on the WLSB,” said President Joe Thomas during the meeting. “We will miss them and their important contributions, but we are excited to welcome Laurie and Mark to the Board.”
New members, leaders
Replacing Liz Philp and representing the sheep industry, Laurie Boner of Glenrock was appointed to the WLSB and will serve for six years in the position.
Boner has been highly involved in the Wyoming Wool Growers Association (WWGA), taking an active role in helping WWGA to rebuild its website and the organization. She has also been an integral part of the Wyoming State Ram Sale.
Also newly appointed, Cheyenne’s Mark Eisele will also serve on the WSLB until 2021. He represents the cattle industry.
Eisele has been very involved in the Wyoming Stock Growers Association (WSGA) for many years, serving in leadership for the organization. He is a WSGA past president and is passionate about the future of the agriculture industry.
During the April 7 meeting, the WLSB also elected new leadership.
Todd Heward of Shirley Basin was selected as president of the Board for the next year, and Kellen Little of Leiter will serve as vice president.
In his first WLSB meeting, Director Steve True commented, “I would like to thank the Board for seeing fit to appoint me.”
“My time thus far has been spent familiarizing myself with my duties and with the staff, and that will continue as we go on,” True said.
True also noted that he has scheduled meetings with all brand inspectors across the state to introduce himself to the agency’s employees.
As the major item of business during the April 7 meeting, the WLSB adopted four sets of rules that were out for public comment. The public comment period on the four rules ended Feb. 27.
First, Chapter One Rabies Prevention and Post Exposure Management was updated to reflect the passage of over a decade.
“We tried to get clarification and updates in this rule,” Wyoming State Veterinarian Jim Logan said. “We worked closely with the Department of Health in developing these rules. Where there is rabies exposure, the Department of Health plays a huge role.”
Chapter 12 Brucella Ovis certification rules were also adopted during the meeting. Only one comment was submitted, and a change was made to reflect that both official and individual identification of rams certified under the program is necessary.
Chapter 16 Bison Designated as Wildlife rules were repealed during the meeting as well. The repeal was necessary, as the rules were both duplicative and unnecessary.
“The Wyoming Game and Fish Department and WSLB have a joint rule that does the same thing Chapter 16 did,” Logan explained. “It uses the same language and has the same intent. We don’t lose anything in repealing these rules.”
Finally, Chapter 23 Veterinary Loan Repayment rules were adopted to improve consistency between the rules and contract utilized under the program and to address questions related to areas of need.
All four rules were passed unanimously with little discussion by the board.
Logan also detailed animal health updates during the meeting, noting that there have been fewer major events in the animal health realm outside of the breaking discovery of high pathogenic avian influenza across the country.
“As a reportable disease, avian influenza has swept across the country,” Logan said. “In the last week, it has been found in Montana and South Dakota.”
Eight cases of the disease have been found in Minnesota, the most highly impacted state, and 13 others have seen the disease.
“The flock in South Dakota was a commercial turkey operation with 25,000 to 30,000 turkeys that are scheduled to be depopulated,” Logan explained. “Montana found avian influenza in a backyard bird flock.”
While he noted that the poultry industry is not significant in Wyoming, backyard flocks may be impacted.
“We have heard reports where 90 percent or more of birds in a flock die from the disease,” he explained. “In domestic poultry, this disease is lethal.”
The WLSB has worked closely with UW Extension and others to spread information about the disease. If anyone with poultry discovers sick or dead birds, they should contact UW Extension or the WSLB for more information or to report a potential incident of high pathogenic avian influenza.
“This disease is significant, and we are trying to stay ahead of it,” Logan said.
“We are still dealing with some cases of trichomoniasis (trich) which were initiated prior to the last board meeting,” Logan added. “We are dealing with the testing and quarantine on those.”
The disease was prevalent in Sweetwater and Lincoln counties again this year, and Logan mentioned, “The nature of the way some producers run their cattle, including not pulling bulls until late and not culling open heifers, means we see a lot of trich if we find one animal.”
Commingling also tends to increase the prevalence of the disease.
Logan noted that the adoption of a board order several years ago creating the Trichomoniasis Special Focus Area has been helpful in isolating the disease.
For brucellosis, Logan mentioned that the bison herd that has been in quarantine for the last several years continues to test negative. He anticipated that the herd may be released from quarantine in early 2016.
“Otherwise, we have had a fairly low-key year for animal health so far,” Logan added.
The WLSB will hold its next meeting as a teleconference in May. Look for more information in the Roundup.
Saige Albert is managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org