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ICON cattlemen meet in Dierks' office


A pre-hearing meeting Feb. 23 in Senator Cap Dierks office brought together several agriculture groups to discuss LB 585, the Bovine Thrichomoniasis bill.

Chris Abbott and David Wright represented the Independent Cattlemen of Nebraska along with Jerry Stodola and ICON lobbyist Jim Pappas.

The morning meeting brought ICON, the Nebraska Cattlemen, Nebraska Farm Bureau, Nebraska Farmers Union, Nebraska Livestock Market Association and the Nebraska Veterinary Medical Association. The Nebraska Department of Agriculture and the office of the State Veterinarian were not able to attend.

The formal hearing was held Feb. 24, but positive input by the farm organizations in Dierk's office on Feb. 23 contributed valuable information to be presented at the hearing.

Three main areas of interest were expressed by all the groups.

Concern about notification of neighbors was the first discussion topic. Current laws were questioned and what actions were required when reporting diseases. Liability worries for neighbors were voiced.

Next, the farming groups questioned what authority the state vet has in these situations. They also asked what information is shared with practicing vets and how information is gathered from the state labs and out-of-state labs. Another concern is just what kind of specific information is available to the state and would producers' herds be identified.

The third area explored was the proof of slaughter of infected bulls. Many wondered if it is required now to prove the slaughter of infected animals and were jaw brands used for identification. Other questions included what actions were currently taken to assist Nebraska livestock markets contain Trich.

It was agreed by all, the voiced concerns would be asked of the Department of Agriculture during the hearing held by the Ag Committee on Feb. 24.

The cattlemen represented Feb. 23 are not interested in seeing a mandatory program created from the LB 585 legislation. The bill was originally written to bring all interested parties to the table to see what can be done in the cattle industry to contain this disease.

"This legislation, today, is brought for the benefit of cattlemen, veterinarians, regulators, and auction market operators," said Dierks in his testimony at the hearing on Feb. 24. "These folks all have the same concern, that of the availability of information on animals diagnosed with Trich should be open and shared information on the presence of the disease and that is absolutely essential for control of the infection on the local level, as well as the state level."

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