Animal Health Commissioner Addresses KCA Regional Meeting Attendees

Kansas Cattlemen’s Association (KCA), in partnership with Zoetis, hosted a regional cattlemen’s meeting in Spearville, Kansas on the evening of May 21st to discuss industry topics. Stan O’Neil of Zoetis discussed animal health and wellness. Animal Health Commissioner, Dr. Justin Smith, provided detailed information on the Animal Health Department. Emily Voris with the Kansas Department of Agriculture (KDA) Animal Health Department provided an overview of the Secure Food Supply program.

The meeting began with an overview of KCA and policy positions with the CEO of KCA, Tyler Dupy. He touched on how KCA’s focus within the Beef industry is geared toward the interests of independent cattle production. He also spoke about alternative meat programs including vegetable-based products and cultured meats as well as up-to-date legislative information.

Dr. Justin Smith began with an explanation of the departments which fall under the Division of Animal Health within the Kansas Department of Agriculture (KDA), including: Animal Disease Control, Branding Department, and Animal Facility Inspection. He continued by discussing a collaboration between U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and KDA to provide field veterinarian support throughout the state on a region by region basis.

Kansas, as an import state, receives in excess of 5 million head of cattle over our borders each year. In addition, producers buy and sell over 2 million head of cattle each year through Kansas livestock markets. With so many cattle and other livestock moving around each day, disease prevention and treatment is critical to keeping the Kansas cattle herd healthy. Dr. Smith discussed the facts of African Swine Fever, including how it can survive for a considerable and perhaps infinite amount of time outside of its host. The effects of an African Swine Fever outbreak in the U.S. could be disastrous, including an estimated loss of $16.5 billion to the swine industry and even up to an $8 billion loss for beef due to cheap pork flooding the domestic market.

Dr. Smith continued, touching on Trichomoniasis and Rabies, among others before moving into topics of traceability and foreign animal disease response plans. Finally, Dr. Smith discussed the Livestock and Brand Investigation Unit. This law enforcement unit headed under the Kansas Attorney General’s office is capable of investigating legal cases in situations of felony livestock theft, felony livestock pharmaceutical theft, and brand violations.

Emily Voris, KDA, discussed the importance of securing the Kansas Beef Supply by taking steps now to implement plans in preparedness of a foreign disease outbreak in the United States. Steps of preparedness include development of an enhanced bio-security plan, keeping proper records, providing a line of separation, training staff and animal handlers, and exercising the plan to be ready.

Sponsors of the meeting included: Alliance Ag & Grain, LLC., Tractor Supply Co., LaCrosse Livestock Market, Inc., American Implement, Blattner Feedlot Construction, Livestock Nutrition Center, Bank of the West, Offerle CO-OP Grain & Supply, Dodge City International, Inc., High Plains Farm Credit, Ford County State Bank, Pride Ag Resources, Midwest Mixer Service, Nutrition Solutions, Rex Stanley Feed Yard, Inc., Roto-Mix, LLC., Zoetis, Rawhide Portable Corral, Inc., State Auto Farm & Ranch Insurance.

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