PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE EFFORTS TOWARDS ANIMAL ID IN WISCONSIN
VERONA, WI – The Wisconsin Livestock Identification Consortium (WLIC) has long been an advocate of animal identification and premises registration for the purpose of disease traceability and the multitude of management opportunities it has to offer producers.
In previous years, the WLIC has had RFID Tag Incentive Programs in place to help get producers involved with animal ID and the technology. These tag incentive programs provided over 300,000 RFID tags, free of charge, to producers, veterinarians, and county and state fair exhibitors. The tag incentive program contributed to about half of all the AIN RFID tags issued to the entire state of Wisconsin!
It is a known fact that the federal funding that allowed the WLIC to have these key incentive programs has been cut. It was back on September 20th, 2011 that membership approved plans for a transition from a largely federally funded program to a program that would be funded by industry and government. The proposal was a three-part approach that consisted of a state contribution, a branded tag initiative and an industry sponsorship program.
Any contribution from the state would be utilized to cover the mandatory state premises registration program and to meet any current and future regulatory requirements needed to protect animal health. Not many people in the state of Wisconsin can recall the last time that we experienced a devastating livestock disease outbreak, which is a good thing. However, the importance of these programs can also be easily forgotten when we have not experienced an outbreak in years. Continuing to fund the programs that can help quickly identify an outbreak, contain it and eradicate it is extremely important.
Legislation has recently decided that it would be too great a risk to the Wisconsin Ag Industry not to continue to support premises registration, in the event of a disease outbreak. On March 15th, 2012 the Assembly passed SB 396, which would provide the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) with enough funding to maintain its mandatory premises registration. The WLIC has served as the contracted agent for premises registration since 2005. In addition to premises registration, the WLIC has coordinated with DATCP to develop an industry led voluntary animal traceability program. “We are pleased to see that the State of Wisconsin recognizes the value of efforts to safeguard the livestock industry and provide the continuing tools to maintain premise registration, a vital component to ensuring response in a timely fashion by health officials when the need arises”, stated David Cooper, WLIC Chairman.
Industry has been a huge supporter of the efforts put forth by the WLIC and has continued to show its support through the WLIC Sponsorship Program. The Industry Sponsorship program allows any individual or organization that supports the WLIC’s efforts to make a monetary contribution. In return, the WLIC offers a variety of services and advertising opportunities which can be tailored to the needs of the individual or organization. All sponsorship dollars will assist in continuing educational outreach programs and communication efforts to the livestock industry. Programs such as the County Fair program, the Branded Tag Program and hosting educational events like the RFID Educational Event will be possible because of our 44 industry members and sponsors.
The WLIC is currently working on finalizing the Identifying Wisconsin Branded Tag Program. The program that was developed by producers, for producers and producer run is set to be released in late April, early May. The Identifying Wisconsin Program will allow official identification distributors to sell a Wisconsin branded 840 tag with a portion of the proceeds going towards the animal identification programs that WLIC currently maintains. As consumers and export markets require more traceability of the product sold back to the farm of origin, the branded tag initiative will allow Wisconsin to take a leadership position in this effort. It will also allow for marketability of Wisconsin livestock and livestock products abroad. David Cooper, WLIC Chairman added, “The Identifying Wisconsin Branded Tag program provides livestock producers the opportunity to take pride in their state while adding value to their marketing efforts. Available in RFID and Panel tags this program is unique to Wisconsin, but will have global opportunities for all who market livestock.”
The Wisconsin Livestock Identification Consortium attributes its success not only to Wisconsin producers and the Ag Industry, but also to its dedicated Board of Directors. On March 6th, the WLIC staff and fellow BOD members gave special recognition to Calvin Larson as his term on the board had been served. Larson, a representative of the WI Horse Council, was recognized for his service, including 6 years on the Board of Directors and for providing leadership to develop a nationally compatible livestock identification system for the purposes of protecting animal health, safeguarding market access and offering opportunities to enhance the marketability of Wisconsin livestock products.
In his place, Russel Strutz, a representative of the Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin, was nominated and elected to serve a three year term on the BOD. “I have been involved with WLIC for the past three years being a member representative for Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin (PDPW). I have seen how WLIC functions and operates, and have seen the benefits of having the tools to protect animal agriculture. I am pleased to be elected to WLIC board because I care about our industry.”
The Wisconsin Livestock Identification Consortium’s current Board of Directors are:
David Cooper, Family Dairies USA – Chairman
Tom DeMuth, CRI/AgSource – Vice Chairman
Elsa Arnold, M&I Bank – Treasurer
Mike Salter, WI Pork Association - Secretary
Dr. Thomas McKenna, WI Veterinary Diagnostics Laboratory
Kim Brown-Pokorny, WI Veterinary Medical Association
Dr. Ole Meland, Accelerated Genetics
Chuck Adami, Equity Livestock
Dan Sutherland, Johnsonville Sausage, LLC
Brian Bolan, WI State Fair
Richard Keller, Rich-Lo-Land Farm
Russel Strutz, Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin
The mission of the Wisconsin Livestock Identification Consortium is to create a secure livestock identification system to protect animal health and market access, and to offer opportunities that enhance the marketability of Wisconsin livestock products. WLIC draws upon the collective strength of its diverse membership to help strengthen and advance animal disease traceability in Wisconsin and the nation as a whole. To learn more about WLIC visit www.wiid.org.