Wednesday, August 5, 2015
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Cattle raisers pass policies at meeting
The Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association, the state’s oldest and largest livestock association, passed policy regarding the state’s brucellosis program. The policy was approved June 17 at the association’s summer meeting in New Braunfels.
The policy was in response to recent state budget cuts that could affect the current status of the state’s brucellosis program.
“It is critical that Texas maintain its brucellosis free status,” said Joe Parker Jr., rancher and president of the cattle raisers association. “The state’s budget cuts have created some challenges, but cattle raisers are ready to work alongside the Texas Animal Health Commission and the USDA [U.S. Department of Agriculture] to overcome those challenges and keep Texas a brucellosis free state.”
Any budget-driven changes to the state brucellosis program should not appreciably increase the risk for brucellosis in the state cattle herd; should be in compliance with the national brucellosis program; and should not impact interstate movement of Texas cattle due to restrictions and/or increased brucellosis-testing requirements imposed by other states.
The Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association supports changes to the state program that supports the following:
•Discontinuation of the mandatory requirement of first point brucellosis testing at all auction, private, and show sales.
•Encouragement of voluntary brucellosis testing, especially for cattle returning to herds for breeding purposes.
•Continued emphasis on brucellosis vaccination of heifers as recommended by the Texas Animal Health Commission .
•Establish, together with the Texas Animal Health Commission, the USDA, and other cattle industry stakeholders, compliance requirements that will keep Texas brucellosis-free.
•Establish first point and packer level surveillance procedures to measure compliance with federal requirements.
The cattle raisers also approved policies that support federal legislation to remove the 20-year age limitation for the USDA’s fence replacement cost share eligibility program when the fences are destroyed by a natural disaster; as well as allow costs of replacing fences destroyed by natural disasters to be fully tax deductible in the year they are replaced.
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