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Wyoming Livestock Board provides update at recent meeting

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

The Wyoming Livestock Board (WLSB) convened on Feb. 6 via Zoom to discuss a variety of topics facing the livestock industry around the state and announced some very exciting news.

First to provide updates was WLSB Director Steve True, who provided the directorʼs report.

He informed attendees Wyoming State Assistant Veterinarian Dr. Rose Digianantonio and himself participated in interviews for the University of Wyoming (UW) Veterinary Lab Director position and just received confirmation on the new hire.  

“Dr. Alexandra Brower has accepted the position for the UW Veterinary Lab director and professor in the Department of Veterinary Sciences,” True stated. “She will be starting in August 2024 and has experience in veterinary diagnostic medicine, as well as in administrative and leadership roles.”

True also reported State Veterinarian Dr. Hallie Hasel, WLSB President Shaun Sims, State of Wyoming Fiscal Analyst Jennifer Butler and himself went before the Joint Appropriation Committee (JAC) on Jan. 8 to testify on the agency’s budget and exception requests.  

In response to the JAC, WLSB provided additional information which was requested on topics of budget exception requests.

Animal health updates

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently notified states of significant decreases in cooperative agreement funding, and WLSB could be facing a decrease of $200,000 for the 2024 Fiscal Year cooperative agreement.

“USDA published their proposal to remove three subspecies of brucella – abortus, suis and melitensis – from the Biological Select Agents and Toxins List,” expressed Hasel. “I strongly encourage each of you to submit a letter to the Federal Register in support of this action, as this proposal has been in the making for many years, and I am so thankful to everyone who has advocated tirelessly to make this proposal a reality.”

She continued, “We need to see it over the finish line by officially voicing our support. The comment period closes on April 1.”

Digianantonio provided the group with an update on a recent report of four Brucella canis cases in Wyoming, and WLSB’s goal in addressing Brucella canis.

“Currently, our rules in relation to this disease are very general, and testing is not required for dogs imported by owners, rescues and/or shelters,” she noted. “We do have the ability to quarantine affected dogs, but little ability to prevent disease from entering the state.”

Chapter eight import rules are under revision and may include more restrictions on kennels and shelters and testing.

She continued with a review of the meeting between U.S. Department of Agriculture Veterinary Services and WLSB in November 2023 addressing scrapie. 

“Samples collected at slaughter were lower than average in the 2023 Fiscal Year, likely due to an issue with sampling at a few plants in the East which take a significant number of cull ewes,” Digianantonio explained. “The average for 2023 was 40 samples per month. So far for 2024, there has been 70 samples per month.”

A scrapie review is scheduled for this May, with the intention of improving scrapie surveillance in the state through mart and plant visits.

“WLSB goals to address scrapie in Wyoming include outreach to small plants slaughtering a significant number of adult ewes, the lab and accredited veterinarians on sample collection and to collect information on scrapie compliance of livestock markets and other areas for improvement through scrapie review,” she concluded.

Dr. Teckla Webb, assistant state veterinarian for field operations, provided brucellosis and trichomoniasis updates.

Currently, there are two herds under quarantine in Park County.

“WLSB veterinarians and quarantined producers met with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department in Cody regarding elk seroprevalence and development of herd plans for quarantined herds. Bighorn sheep exposure and ongoing surveillance was also discussed,” she stated.

She further noted Fremont County does have a herd quarantined for trichomoniasis, which spurred a producer meeting in Lander on Jan. 26, where a large group of producers and veterinaries gathered to receive educational information and updates. 

Hasel said the department has been discussing health books which the livestock board provides to Wyoming veterinarians. 

The general consensus was to promote use of electronic certificate of veterinary inspection (eCVI) due to immediate data transmission and disease traceability, as many states have stopped providing handwritten certificates of veterinary inspection (CVI) books or will cease providing them in the immediate future.

WSLB approved to stop providing handwritten CVI books to Wyoming veterinarians effective Jan. 1, 2025, as veterinarians have several eCVI options to purchase in lieu of the handwritten books.

Brand inspection updates

Wyoming Brand Commissioner Lee Romsa provided an update on brand renewals, noting since renewal ended, 189 delinquent brands have been renewed, bumping the total renewed brands to 4,841 or a cumulative rate of 79.8 percent.  

Romsa commented, “We recruited, interviewed and selected three part-time brand inspector positions. We continue to fill vacancies as quality candidates become available, but we still have three part-time and one full-time position to fill.”

Recently, Livestock Board Investigator Joel Senior led a successful law enforcement training for Laramie County which was attended by three Laramie County deputies and two state troopers who are stationed in the county.

“Laramie County is not yet one of the counties that have a memorandum of understanding with the Wyoming Livestock Board, although there is one in the works,” he remarked.

“Chris Strang, a Weston County deputy and I will be attend the Western States Livestock and Rural Enforcement Association in early March. The conference has a lot of valuable training and includes our counterparts from the Western U.S. and Canada, plus many Western sheriff’s departments,” Romsa concluded. “The contacts made at the conference provide an invaluable network to deal with livestock crimes.”

The meeting was adjourned and the next board meeting was set for March 15 in person or via Zoom. 

Melissa Anderson is the editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to

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