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On Monday, I, just like many of you, was surprised to hear of a new rule being imposed by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). March 11th marked the first day that the Animal Disease Traceability (ADT) rule was to take effect. Although the rule has been in the works for well over a year at the federal level, the notification and implementation of the rule was mainly left to the individual state departments of agriculture. Needless to say, notification from the Missouri Department of Agriculture was practically nonexistent.

The final rule requires that livestock moved interstate must be officially identified and accompanied by an interstate certificate of veterinary inspection or other documentation, such as owner-shipper statements or brand certificates. Specifically, official identification is required for the following cattle and bison: all sexually intact cattle and bison 18 months of age or over; all female dairy cattle of any age and all fairy males born after March 11, 2013; cattle and bison of any age used for rodeo or recreational events; cattle and bison of any age used for shows or exhibitions.

Currently, Missouri requirements for beef and dairy cattle moving into the state from other states and beef cattle moving within the state already meet or exceed the new Federal requirements and thus require no changes. However, dairy cattle moving within the state are currently not tagged in a manner that meets the new Federal requirements.

After finding out about the new rules, myself along with several other State Representatives and Senators contacted the Director of the Missouri Department of Agriculture to try and find out why notification of the changes had been so poorly handled. Over the past two months I have personally been to the Department of Agriculture for meetings and the ADT was never mentioned. The inquiry led to a whirlwind of meetings and discussion throughout Monday and Tuesday.

Although the meetings produced few answers about the lack of communication, it did lead to gains in the area of implementation. The Director agreed to establish the Animal Disease Traceability Education Committee to help find the simplest and common sense manner to help cattle farmers and sale barn owners meet the demands of the new act while not hindering the livelihood of an industry that is vital to the economy of our state.

Animal Disease Traceability (ADT) Education Committee:

John Bryan – Missouri Poultry Federation

Lyle Caselman – Buffalo Livestock Market, LLC

Dave Drennan – Missouri Dairy Association

Tom Kissee – Springfield Livestock Market

Jimmie Long – Missouri Livestock Order Buyer

Rose Massengill – U.S. Department of Agriculture

Jim McCann – Missouri Cattlemen’s Association

Don Nikodim – Missouri Pork Association

Kristen Parman – Livestock Marketing Association

David Patton – South Central Regional Stockyards

Craig Payne, DVM – University of Missouri Extension

It is important to ensure that our food supply is safe to consume. However, bureaucrats with good intentions in Washington, far separated from the farmlands of America, often impede on the ability of America’s farmers to do what they do best; farm. Hopefully, the committee members can help provide for a smooth transition as we determine the best path forward. Moreover, I hope that in the future the line of communication between the Department of Ag and Missouri’s farmers will be a little more open then it was this time around.

As always, it is an honor to serve you in the Missouri House of Representatives. I look forward to spending a little bit of time back in the district next week while the Missouri House and Senate are on spring break.

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