WY Brucellosis Communications Bill Advances Out of Committee

CHEYENNE, WY., February 15, 2023 — A bill that would create a communication protocol as it relates to Brucellosis testing notifications has passed both the House and Senate Agriculture Committee. HB0180 is supported by the Wyoming Stock Growers Association in part, for clarifying the communication process for producers who may face laboratory testing in the future.

Steve True, director of the Wyoming Livestock Board, said he believes the bill signals the need for the Board to sit down with producers within the Designated Surveillance Area (DSA) to better understand their concerns with the current protocol and what can be done to improve it while staying within confidentiality requirements and USDA rules. 

Other Greater Yellowstone Area states, Idaho and Montana, he said do the same. He said he believes the bill provides room to work through without violating USDA or WLB rules or confidentiality issues that would inhibit producers from marketing their livestock. 

Wyoming State Veterinarian Dr. Hallie Hazel said, “prior to this language, whenever there was a laboratory confirmation of brucellosis we notified others besides the owners. With this bill, that changes to a non-negative standing from the laboratory from the preliminary results.”

Dr. Hazel said the communication protocol will determine how and when notifications will be made and to whom, other than the owner, of a non-negative sample. She said this isn’t a confirmed positive Brucellosis sample, but a non-negative. She said it is incredibly important to maintain the confidentiality of results so as not to affect the owner’s ability to market cattle or nearby neighbors’ ability to market their cattle. It is, she said, vitally important to the bill that the WLB be able to establish that communication protocol to maintain confidentiality and to work within existing rules of the state and the other regulating agencies.

Jim Magagna, executive vice president of Wyoming Stock Growers Association, offered the support of WSGA and said based on the feedback of his members, producers are largely unaware of the existing protocol and don’t know what to expect, which could be remedied by outlining the communication protocol while still recognizing there must be some room for the professional judgment of the State Veterinarian and the Livestock Board.

Source: Rachel Gabel, The Fence Post Magazine, Western Ag Network