Conference to include 'very pertinent and timely information'
By MATTHEW WEAVER
Washington cattlemen will address the costs of state-run slaughter surveillance and look at ways to improve the beef checkoff program.
The Washington Cattlemen's Association annual meeting takes place Nov. 9-12 at the Marcus Whitman Hotel in Walla Walla, Wash.
"We're going to be bringing a lot of very pertinent and timely information," said Jack Field, executive vice president of the association. "We've got key leaders within various aspects of the industry or regulatory community coming forward."
Washington State Veterinarian Leonard Eldridge and Terry McElwain, executive director of the Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory in Pullman, Wash., will talk Nov. 10 about the cost of developing a state-run brucellosis slaughter surveillance facility.
USDA recently reduced the number of slaughter surveillance samples in the United States.
"In Washington state, we went from approximately 11,000 samples per month, which were processed in Pullman at the WADDL lab, to around 4,500 samples on a monthly basis that are sent to Kansas," Field said.
The association is concerned about the move.
"We believe it's in the industry's best interest to maintain a robust slaughter surveillance program that utilizes our local laboratory," Field said.
A Nov. 11 panel discussion will talk about improving the Beef Checkoff program. Leaders from the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, U.S. Cattlemen's Association and Cattlemen's Beef Board are among those who will speak.
"I felt it was extremely important to try to bring industry leaders to the convention and have an opportunity for producers to get firsthand information," Field said.
The event also includes presentations on wolf management challenges, range monitoring and management, overseas marketing opportunities and the proposed USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service animal disease traceability system.
Field estimates 200 to 300 people will attend.
Washington Cattlemen's Association: www.washingtoncattlemen.org