Livestock Board discusses proposed livestock health changes and other items
Douglas – The Wyoming Livestock Board (WLSB) held a board meeting in Douglas on June 29-30, inviting public attendance on the second day.
Agenda items included updates from Director Steve True, brand inspection and recording updates from Brand Commissioner Lee Romsa and updates to proposed health rules from State Veterinarian Jim Logan.
True began his update addressing a meeting with the legislative tribal relations committee, noting, “Tribal ranchers gave presentations of the problems they feel they face with possible rustling and missing livestock.”
The WLSB recommended a parallel and stand-alone program within the reservation for brand inspection and law enforcement with reciprocity to Wyoming brand statues and rules.
“We did not ask them at this time to accept in total our rules and regulations, but we need to be able to work from the same basis,” True explained.
Tribal representatives seemed receptive to the suggestions from the Board.
Next, True informed the Board, “We have received our budget instructions for the Governor’s office for the next biennium.”
Governor Mead suggested that the budget be reviewed for reductions and maximum efficiency with a minimum of exception requests.
“In house, we have begun our budget process,” True noted, adding that the final budget will be due in the fall.
Continuing his update, he stated, “The Governor also thanked and named all of the agencies that were involved in emergency actions at Lusk during the flood.”
Further, True recognized the teamwork between agencies as well as the efficient work of the Department of Transportation in opening roads after the flood.
“The community of Lusk came together, and that is quite a community. It’s already looking a lot better, and they did most of that without aid from agencies,” added Board Member Donna Hunt.
Following the director’s updates, Romsa provided information about brands that are up for renewal.
“We still have 1,180 brands that are delinquent,” he noted.
He also mentioned that the delinquent program appears to be working well, giving brand owners a chance to renew their brands before they are moved to an abandoned status.
“As a reminder, they have until the end of the year to pick up those delinquent brands before they go to the abandoned list,” stated Romsa.
He also commented on the repairs being made to trouble spots in the online brand renewal system and suggested a pay raise for brand inspectors.
“I think it’s important. Our top candidates all turned us down because we couldn’t be competitive on salary,” Romsa said of recent recruitment efforts for new brand inspectors.
Following brand updates, Logan spoke, bringing attention to a recent meeting in Jackson on June 11 concerning Bighorn sheep regulations.
“Not only should the sheep industry pay close attention to this issue, but the cattle industry should be paying very close attention to it as well. As the sheep industry eventually goes with this issue of allotments on Forest Service land, I think the cattle industry eventually will follow,” Logan stated.
As the meeting continued, the Board reviewed applications for veterinary loan repayments before moving on to proposed changes in livestock health rules, which were discussed by the Board before being released for public comment.
Beginning with Chapter 2, Logan commented, “These are the brucellosis rules.”
Since the rule began in the year 2000, there have been some minor edits and changes.
“I emailed the Board about some frustrations that I have had, that brand inspectors have had and that producers in the Designated Surveillance Area have had,” Logan said.
Difficulties have been documented in regards to seasonal grazing permit holders who have ignored brucellosis testing requirements. After a lengthy discussion, the Board agreed to take action by providing warnings and denying future permits to producers that fail to meet the agreements in their contracts.
“The other changes are just updates referencing federal rules, and there are some definition changes,” Logan added, discussing the Chapter 2 rule.
Changes to the Chapter 6 rule address payments to veterinarians and sale barns for brucellosis testing, and control measures were also discussed.
“We have run into some situations with the definition of ‘brucellosis area of concern,’ and we also updated current verbiage of category two accredited veterinarian,” Logan continued.
Proposed changes to Chapter 13 rules concern the scrapie.
“This rule has not ever been revised in my recollection. There are some changes to references and citations to the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) scrapie terms,” Logan explained.
Changes are intended to simplify and better clarify definitions.
“This rule closely mirrors the APHIS scrapie rules that have been pretty successful and well complied with in Wyoming,” he noted.
Lastly, the Board reviewed the Chapter 15 rules concerning trichomoniasis.
“This was last revised in 2010,” Logan noted. “A lot of what we see in the Chapter 15 rule is an attempt to harmonize where we can with other states, as far as their requirements for trichomoniasis.”
After discussing the changes and applying some edits, the Board approved the release of the proposed rule changes for public comment.
The next WLSB meeting will be held via teleconference in the fall.
Natasha Wheeler is editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.