Posted: Jan 10, 2013 10:18 AM by MTN News
A new report on Montana's brucellosis management plan (BMP) says the state is proactive and responsive in its efforts to identify occurrences of the disease and prevent its spread in livestock and wildlife within and from the Designated Surveillance Area (DSA).
The report was conducted by USDA's Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service-Veterinary Services, and was issued after a review of brucellosis management plans in the three Greater Yellowstone Area states (Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming).
The goal was to determine if state BMPs are effective and if states are following plans outlined in agreements with APHIS.
According to state veterinarian Dr. Mary Zaluski, the report contains several commendations for Montana's BMP.
"Overall, our review went very well and we're pleased with the outcome," Zaluski said. "The report will help show other states that we're aggressively managing brucellosis, and that will help protect the marketability of Montana's billion-dollar a year livestock industry."
According to the report, key strengths of Montana's BMP include:
- Proactive actions leading to adjustments to the boundaries of Montana's DSA.
- Cooperative efforts between Montana Department of Livestock's Animal Health Division and their Brand's Enforcement Division, including the implementation and use of an electronic brands software program at the livestock markets. Brand inspection plays a critical role in
Montana's brucellosis management plan.
- Wildlife surveillance activities, most notably the multiyear elk capture and surveillance project,
- Testing and surveillance requirements for domestic cattle and bison in the DSA.
- Use of individual herd plans for herds located in the DSA.
The report also included the following recommended enhancements to Montana's BMP:
- Increasing the number of herds within the DSA on approved herd plans. Risk assessments should be conducted on each herd prior to developing an individualized herd plan.
- Developing a template for a formal brucellosis-affected herd plan and a template for approved DSA herd plans detailing the proactive risk mitigation actions in place.
- Increasing surveillance on slaughter cattle coming out of the designated surveillance area, especially when going direct to slaughter.
- Continuing wildlife surveillance activities and studies to expand the knowledge base about brucellosis in elk, which will lead to better disease management practices and risk mitigation efforts.
- Working with APHIS to develop a State-specific (or DSA specific) slaughter cattle surveillance plan that would provide for sampling and testing "pre-slaughter."
- Continuing producer education and outreach using a variety of venues through which to deliver and disseminate information about Montana's brucellosis surveillance program.
Zaluski noted, "While there is always room for improvement, the USDA basically said we're doing a good job."