AGF takes goat industry concerns to D.C. In March this year, just as Covid began

to break out in America, Randy Dusek, American Goat Federation (AGF) president and Tammy Fisher, AGF Legislative and Pol- icy Chair, went to Washington, D.C., as part of the American Sheep Industry fly in. They met with a contingent of scientists and gov- ernment officials with the Agriculture Re- search Service (ARS) in Beltsville, Md. There was a useful exchange of ideas from a producer point of view to the scien- tific point of view. ARS discussed its re- search on stomach worms and shared information about future alternatives to de- wormers that could end resistance and de- pendence on the limited varieties of expensive dewormers. Randy and Tammy asked for assistance with Q-Fever and Anthrax research for sheep, goats and wildlife, and also learned of ever-increasing budgetary constraints and lack of scientists in the field of small rumi- nants in the government sector. All-in-all, the entire department of sheep and goat special- ists at ARS were inviting, welcoming and AGF is continuing the dialogue with these supporters of American agriculture. Randy and Tammy then visited with many members of Congress and their staff members on Capitol Hill to urge continued and increased funding for Scrapie Eradicat- ion through USDA’s Animal Plant Health In- spection Service (APHIS) and for Wildlife Services predator and hog control programs. In their meetings, they emphasized the im- portance of common-sense rules for Elec- tronic Logging and Hours of Service mandates on truckers hauling livestock that

Texas and other states. They over-winter and this is when most producers are kidding and lambing. They cause significant losses of newborns.

Randy Dusek Tammy Fisher

would ensure safe and efficient transport of livestock while protecting those on our high- ways as well as the welfare of the animals being hauled.

There was a full agenda of speakers

from USDA as well as a representative of the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative who explained the current trade situation with China and future negotiations with the U.K. EPA representatives shared information about the agency’s progress on rewriting and implementing the Waters of the U.S. rule, which is watched closely by everyone in pro- duction agriculture. At the EPA Agriculture Office, Tammy and Randy were told about new collaborations with EPA, USDA and FDA in agricultural issues. This is a very ag- riculture-friendly development in the Trump Administration. They also were told that the M-44 cyanide guns used for predator control had been renewed for 15 years. Tammy and Randy then met with the Department of the Interior where several at- tendees expressed concern about predation on lambs and goats by Black Buzzards and Cara Caras. They shared producers’ concerns about the seriousness of the consistently more aggressive avian predators. These pred- ators are seemingly no longer migratory in

The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced in July the initial purchase of vaccine for the National Animal Vaccine and Vet- erinary Countermeasures Bank (NAVVCB). APHIS will invest $27.1 million in foot-and-mouth disease vaccine, which the Agency would use in the event of an outbreak to protect animals and help stop the spread of disease.

“While we are confident we can keep foot-and-mouth disease

out of the country, as we have since 1929, having access to vaccines is an important insurance policy,” said Marketing and Regulatory Programs Under Secretary Greg Ibach. “Vaccines could be an impor- tant tool in the event of an incursion of the disease in the U.S, but their use will depend on the circumstances of the incursion and re- quire careful coordination with the affected animal industries.” Vaccination helps control the spread of infection by reducing the amount of virus shed by animals and by controlling clinical signs of illness. While an outbreak would temporarily disrupt in- ternational markets, vaccination would allow animals to move

6 Goat Rancher | August 2020

The FWS agreed to look into this prob- lem and consider delisting them from the mi- gratory bird list so that measures can be used to control them. Currently, these birds are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. They also learned of legislation that could help with this process and AGF will move forward with supporting HR 3655 “Live- stock Protection Act of 2019” introduced by U.S. Rep. Hollingsworth from Indiana. Since that visit, obviously, the world has changed quite a bit. As Randy and Tammy flew home, through crowded air- ports, it became apparent that they were see- ing the last of this type of travel for a while. AGF has been in close contact with USDA to continue to monitor the Coronavirus agri- cultural and small business packages avail- able to producers.

While the goat meat markets in many areas of the country have been largely unaf- fected by the outbreaks of Covid-19, smaller sectors of the milk, meat and fiber portions of the industry have suffered. AGF continues to push for assistance in any form we can get it and will be in touch with Congress and USDA in the coming weeks as the next Covid-19 “CARES-4” package is drafted and passed, hopefully by August.

learn more about the American Goat Federation or to join, visit Government stockpiles hoof-and-mouth vaccine

through domestic production channels. Foot-and-mouth disease is not a threat to public health or food safety. It is also not related to hand, foot, and mouth disease, which is a common childhood illness caused by a different virus. The NAVVCB is one component of a three-part program estab- lished by the 2018 Farm Bill to comprehensively support animal dis- ease prevention and management. The new U.S.-only vaccine bank—a concept APHIS officials have long discussed with stake- holders and industry—makes a much larger number of vaccine doses available than we currently have through the North American Foot and Mouth Disease Vaccine Bank. APHIS will continue to participate in the North American Foot and Mouth Disease Vaccine Bank, and this new program adds to the nation’s level of protection against this devastating disease. In the event of an outbreak, animal health offi- cials would decide when, where and how to use the available vaccine, based on the circumstances of the outbreak.

More information about these programs is available at:

To learn more about the American Goat Federation or

r to join, visit

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