Wyo Livestock Board continues tackling animal health, brand program challenges
A June 1 meeting of the Wyoming Livestock Board (WLSB) brought several rules changes, animal health updates and brand program updates, where Board members voted to send two sets of rules out for public comment and prepared for a meeting of a brand program subcommittee.
The meeting kicked off with updates from Wyoming State Veterinarian Jim Logan on brucellosis, tuberculosis and trichomoniasis (trich).
A Sublette County cattle herd impacted by brucellosis has undergone three consecutive negative whole-herd tests, and Wyoming State Veterinarian Jim Logan predicted that they should be released from quarantine shortly.
Upcoming in the realm of brucellosis arena, USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service will conduct a review of Wyoming’s brucellosis plans in mid-June, including visits to the Wyoming State Vet Lab and Riverton Livestock Auction.
Logan also noted that tuberculosis (TB) has popped up in the region again, with South Dakota herds affected. With links to exposed cattle, he said that no TB was found in cattle from Wyoming.
“We are still exploring the disposition of about 16 exposed heifers that came in with the original group,” he explained, noting that it appears that those cattle came into and left the state before TB was identified in South Dakota. “We do have one link to a second case of TB in South Dakota. If those cattle are in Wyoming, we will deal with them accordingly.”
Of the 86 identified cattle that were identified as exposed to TB, 71 were located and depopulated. The remaining animals are being tracked currently. They were not identified by official identification because they were under 18 months of age. They were tracked by brands.
“It probably would have helped us if we had some information from ear tags to know if they were in feedlots, at slaughter or in herds,” Wyoming State Assistant Veterinarian Bob Meyer. “In this case, even though we didn’t have hard ID, brands took us a long way to identifying these cattle.”
Additionally, related to trichomoniasis, no trich has been identified in the state thus far this year.
“This may be the first time that we’ve not seen trich to this point in a year,” Logan commented.
Brand Commissioner Lee Romsa noted that, as of June 1, there were 27,064 brands recorded, and 104 delinquent brands were issued since the renewal period ended.
“On our renewal, we renewed 6,698 brands our of 8,406, so our renewal rate is 79.7 percent, which is close to our historical average,” he explained.
For the remaining delinquent brands, Romsa said producers still have until Dec. 31 to renew before brands will be declared abandoned, and WLSB is making every effort to notify their owners.
“Our brand inspectors in each area continue to follow up and try to contact people on the list,” Romsa continued.
Aside from brand renewal, Romsa said, “Year-to-date, we have also had 79 new brands, 172 abandoned brands reissued and 379 brand transfers.”
The brand program also continues to work on their computerization efforts, with the process being nearly complete.
“We’ve phased in our early adopters and our second-line volunteers,” Romsa said. “We working on getting those through the system and making sure the reports meet our records requirements.”
Thus far, 42 brand inspectors are utilizing the program, and brand inspectors are training each other to address challenges and bring the system live.
“Our hardest and most intensive stage of training is going to begin soon,” he continued. “Once they go live, we’ll have our entire system computerized.”
At the last meeting of the WLSB, a subcommittee was established to improve and modernize the brand program called the Brand Program Stabilization Working Group.
“Kellen Little and I met to talk about an agenda for the subcommittee, which will meet in Casper on June 19,” WLSB Director Steve True said. “We’ll outline the purposes and objectives of the subcommittee, introduce our members and have an extremely lively and healthy discussion.”
The meeting is set for 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Ramkota with a working lunch.
“We’re going to get people together and start building on all the information we have,” True continued.
True also noted that, in the time coming up to the meeting and after, producers around the state are encouraged to contact members of the working group to provide comments on the brand program.
The Brand Program Stabilization Working Group includes WLSB members Little, Laurie Boner and Martin Mercer, producers Corby McGinness, Coke Landers, Joe Nield, Joe Thomas, Sage Askin, Joe Fornstrom and W. Frank Eathorne, industry representatives Jim Magagna and Ken Hamilton and brand inspector Dave Hall.
The next meeting of the WLSB will be scheduled for late June or early July and will be announced in the upcoming weeks.
Saige Albert is managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at email@example.com.