NMLB, cattle industry working together on brand identification for cattle movement
In response to a request from the state’s cattle industry, the New Mexico Livestock Board (NMLB) voted at its April meeting to move forward on a proposal to start working with other brand states to use brands as official identification under USDA’s new Animal Disease Traceability (ADT) rule.
Under the new ADT rule, most cattle that are moved interstate currently must have individual identification and be accompanied by a certificate of veterinary inspection, greatly increasing the time and cost involved in shipping a load of cattle. In most cases, feeder cattle can move without restrictions. However, those regulations also provide for the option of using brands as identification, as long as an agreement has been reached between the states involved.
NMLB and the New Mexico Cattle Growers Association (NMCGA) have started work by reaching out to bordering states like Colorado, Texas, Oklahoma and Arizona to work on an agreement. Currently, the proposal would require:
1.) Official ID and Interstate Veterinary Health Certificate on all cattle 18 months and older, excluding cows going directly from farm or ranch to slaughter.
2.) Calves and yearlings under 18 months of age can travel on a brand inspection or other official documents as states agree.
Prior entry permit numbers could be part of the brand inspection or other official documents if receiving states so desire.
3.) Cows going directly from farm or ranch to slaughter can travel on a brand inspection or other official documents as states agree. Prior entry permit numbers could be part of the brand inspection or other official documents if receiving states so desire.
NMLB has strong ties with other brand states, and will continue to follow that tradition as much as possible, depending on those states’ policies, according to Ray Baca, NMLB interim director. “We are here to protect and serve the integrity of the industry. We can’t just be a regulatory agency; we need input from producers on these issues up front, because they are the ones who will be affected.”
Both NMLB and NMCGA worked hard as the ADT regulations were developed to have brand identification included in the final version. “We are hopeful that between the industry and the state veterinarians, we can reach an agreement with the other brand states,” said Caren Cowan, executive director of NMCGA.
Speed of commerce is the big concern for Charlie Rogers, who owns the Clovis Livestock Market and represented New Mexico at the Western States’ Animal Health Meeting earlier this year where this issue was discussed between states. “There is a certain time of year—between Sept. 15 and Nov. 15—when there are a lot of calves and yearlings moving out of New Mexico. If you had to have a health certificate on every delivery, you could not find enough veterinarians in the state who would be willing to leave their practice for that time to write health certificates for those cattle. It becomes almost an impossibility.”
“The ADT rule allows states to make their own agreements,” he continued. “We hope to get the brand law states to band together and use what we have, our brands, which has been successful in the past, especially on cattle under 18 months of age.”
“This is a work in progress, and we are asking for industry input,” Baca said. “I encourage anyone with questions, ideas, concerns or suggestions to contact me at 505/841-6161 or raye. firstname.lastname@example.org.” — WLJ