Industry Offers Priorities to APHIS
January 3, 2014

"Stakeholder input plays a vital role in determining the direction of program activities here at the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)," said Kevin Shea, APHIS administrator and John R. Clifford, DVM, deputy administrator, Veterinary Services (VS), in a letter to the attendees of the October sheep and goat meeting held with APHIS. 
According to the letter, APHIS is in the process of revising its agency-wide strategic plan and the information shared by industry leaders will help to ensure that its near- and long-term goals better align with sheep and goat priorities. 
As a result of the meeting, APHIS will begin addressing some of the priority issues outlined by the industry at the October meeting:
VS will discuss sheep- and goat-related research priorities with the Agricultural Research Service, including development of a recombinant coxiella vaccine. VS will also explore obtaining a limited-use permit for a European vaccine licensed for cattle and goats.
To get better data on livestock losses caused by predators, VS will work with the National Agriculture Statistics Service and APHIS Wildlife Services to plan for the Sheep and Goat Death Loss survey in 2015.
VS will confer with the Food and Drug Administration to determine whether a risk assessment would be sufficient to support a change in tuberculosis and brucellosis testing requirements for sheep and goat dairies.
"Although the challenges facing the sheep and goats industry are complex, please know you have the dedicated support of APHIS on your side. Healthy and profitable agriculture is good for America, and we want to help your industry achieve its goals and continue to prosper," concluded Shea and Clifford. 
The American Sheep Industry Association volunteer leaders who met with APHIS in October included Animal Health Committee co-chair Cindy Wolf, DVM (Minn.), and Predator Management Committee co-chairs John Baucus (Mont.) and Steve Clements (S.D.). 
A follow-up face-to-face meeting will be scheduled in the fall of 2014.