New brucellosis rule could help Idaho cattle industry
A new brucellosis-testing rule approved by the Idaho Legislature is expected to improve the marketability of Idaho cattle and convince other states not to adopt onerous import restrictions on Gem State livestock.
The new rule changes Idaho’s brucellosis testing requirements to align them with what important state trading partners are demanding, Bill Barton, the state veterinarian, told lawmakers, who voted to make the temporary rule permanent.
While Idaho livestock are considered brucellosis-free, a reservoir of the disease exists in wildlife in and around Yellowstone National Park. The testing requirements affect livestock that reside or have been within a designated surveillance area (DSA) in east Idaho near Yellowstone.
Barton said Minnesota and South Dakota weren’t comfortable with Idaho’s former testing requirements and placed significant import restrictions on all Idaho cattle. Colorado and Nebraska stopped just short of those severe restrictions, he added, and “numerous other states are waiting to see the outcome of this rule. They have not implemented management restrictions but they have considered it.
Barton, who is also administrator of the Idaho State Department of Agriculture’s animal industries division, said the import requirements pose a significant financial hardship to all Idaho cattle producers and limit their marketing options.
He said Minnesota and South Dakota officials have indicated they could ease their restrictions because of the new rule, which was approved by the Senate Agricultural Affairs Committee.
Barton said, “The changes will prevent all Idaho cattle from having to be tested because of other states’ import restrictions.”
“These rules are crucial to us being able to market and export our cattle across state lines,” said Wyatt Prescott, executive vice president of the Idaho Cattle Association, one of several major livestock groups which supported the changes.
While the old rule required livestock herds within the DSA to be tested once every three years, the new rule requires sexually intact cattle within the zone to be tested following a change of ownership or before leaving the DSA. You can read more at: http://bit.ly/ysYfFa.
– Livestock Marketing Association
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