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UW sponsors brucellosis management tools meeting in Pinedale


University of Wyoming researchers are sponsoring a meeting in Pinedale to find producers willing to offer their experiences and opinions on brucellosis management activities.

The meeting is 1 p.m., Feb. 20, at the Moose Creek Trading Co.

Scientists from the UW College of Agriculture want to estimate the costs to ranchers of using such management techniques as adult booster vaccinations, fencing haystacks, delaying grazing on allotments, spaying heifer calves and running steers, among others.

"When producers need to make a management decision, ideally they would be able to weigh the benefits against the costs," said Dannele Peck, an assistant professor in the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics. "In the case of brucellosis management activities, the benefits are extremely difficult to measure. You need to know by how much a specific management activity, such as fencing haystacks, reduces the risk of cattle contracting brucellosis, and then place a dollar value on that reduction in risk. Extensive field research is needed to quantify management activities' benefits. In the meantime, however, we can at least provide cost information to producers considering these management activities."

Researchers at the meeting will describe the project, gather preliminary information about producers' thoughts/experiences on implementing strategies and provide opportunities for individuals to confidentially indicate their interest in participating in the project.

"We hope to connect with producers who are already implementing brucellosis management activities, or those who have thought critically about implementing them but decided not to, to learn about the more subtle ways in which a ranch's day-to-day operations are affected by the adoption of each practice," said Peck. "Producers are the only ones who know the ins and outs of ranching well enough to make sure we haven't missed any important costs."

The research is part of a larger program on the economics of wildlife/livestock disease by Peck and Ben Rashford, also an assistant professor in the department. The research started when the two joined the college two years ago.

"It has taken us some time to gain a sufficient understanding of disease issues around the state, such as brucellosis, to begin identifying gaps our research program can help fill," said Peck. "We would ultimately like to be able to compare the benefits and costs of each brucellosis management tool available to producers in order to identify the most cost-effective combination of tools for achieving their desired level of risk reduction."

Research outcomes will be made available through University of Wyoming Cooperative Extension Service publications.

Those interested in attending the meeting are asked to RSVP to help estimate seating and refreshments requirements by calling 307-367-4380 or by e-mailing eric@uwyo.edu.

For questions about the study, Peck can be reached at 307-766-6412 or dpeck@uwyo.edu.

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