KCA concludes 2018 regional meetings in Maple Hill

Independent cattle producers gathered in downtown Maple Hill, Kansas, in the meeting room of NextGen’s Chophouse, the evening of Dec. 12 for an animal health and policy seminar put together by Kansas Cattlemen’s Association. Dr. Justin Smith, Kansas Animal Health Commissioner, provided an update on the Animal Health Department, and Tyler Dupy, KCA, provided a legislative and policy update to the 50 producers in attendance.

Justin Smith began with an explanation of the departments that fall under the Division of Animal Health within the Kansas Department of Agriculture, including: Animal Disease Control, Branding Department, and Animal Facility Inspection. He continued by discussing a collaboration between U.S. Department of Agriculture 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. 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.

Smith continued, touching on Trichomoniasis, Rabies, Anaplasmosis, Johne’s disease, amongst others before moving into topics of traceability and foreign animal disease response plans. Finally, he 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.

Tyler Dupy, KCA CEO and executive director, gave a brief explanation of how KCA focuses its attention on producer-driven policy within the state of Kansas and nationally. He discussed the transition to a new administration will bring some changes to the upcoming legislative session set to begin January 14, 2019 and a concern KCA has with regard to the platform supporting corporate farming for Kansas by the Kelly/Rogers campaign.

Federally, Dupy explained that there are significant things going on right now, including the passage of the new farm bill just that day, and the soon to be published new WOTUS rule to the Federal Registry. He went on to explain other updates on the Beef Checkoff, value-added programs, Electronic Logging Devices, and more.

A free beef supper was served and made possible by these generous sponsors of the meeting: WaterTight Roofing, Ag Partners COOP, Inc., Gee Tire, Inc., Heritage Tractor, Inc., Wildcat Feeds, LLC, Farmers State Bank, Tarwater Farm & Home Supply, and State Auto Farm & Ranch Insurance.