SSQA Instructors and Auditors Trained
Eleven new Sheep Safety & Quality Assurance (SSQA) trainers from across the nation have successfully completed a two-day, train-the-trainer course and are now ?SSQA Certified.?
Those certified range from sheep extension personnel to sheep producers to consultants.
Drs. Keith Belk and Steve LeValley, along with Travis Hoffman, all with Colorado State University, and Dr. Deb Roeber, from the University of Minnesota, provided interactive instruction and real farm-application scenarios to the new trainers to best represent the potential feel of a future producer training session. Walking through the exercises provided participants with a chance to experience the development of the plan and ask the same questions future participants may ask.
?Wide-spread industry participation in the SSQA program will provide credibility to consumers relative to the sheep industry?s willingness to be consumer-driven,? said Belk. ?The program addresses safety, quality and consistency ? three vital properties that influence consumer demand of a product.?
The overall goal of the SSQA program over the next three to five years is to develop a high percentage of certified producers who will take SSQA practices back to their operations and implement them. The Oct. 12-13 trainer course helped achieve that goal by placing new trainers across the country to assist in the promotion of the program to producers.
States and organizations interested in providing this training for their producers should contact the American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) office for details.
The SSQA Program was developed jointly by ASI and Colorado State University.
Antibiotic Use in Animals DecliningA new survey of animal health companies completed by the Animal Health Institute indicates that the volume of antibiotics used in U.S. livestock dropped nearly 8 percent in 2003, suggesting that producers are using the products with greater discretion, reports www.Meatingplace.com.
Declines in antibiotic use in livestock have been fairly steady since 1999.
ASI Submits Scrapie Comments
?The American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) supports an aggressive and expeditious approach to eradicating scrapie.?
That was one of many formal comments submitted by ASI to the U.S. Department of Agriculture?s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) in response to the department?s Proposed Rule for Interstate Movement of Sheep and Goats.
ASI also noted that ?it is very important that scrapie-infected, suspect and high-risk animals be handled separately and appropriately at assembly points and that the risk of exposure to healthy animals be minimized. Therefore, it is appropriate to include sheep in the regulation as it already applies to cattle, swine, bison and horses.
However, with regards to the definitions of ?scrapie exposed? and ?scrapie high-risk,? it was noted that ASI believes a change is warranted. It was urged that APHIS redefine these definitions and then, based on current science, require the segregation or quarantine of only high-risk animals. Redefining these definitions would also align them more closely to those being used in the Scrapie Eradication Uniform Methods and Rules.
A complete copy of the comments submitted by ASI and approved by ASI?s Executive Board can be found on the ASI Web site at:www.sheepusa.org
Notice of this proposal was published in the Aug. 26, 2004, Federal Register. Comments received on or before Oct. 25 were given consideration.
USDA Earmarks Additional $1.5 Million for ID
The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced on Oct. 28, 2004, an additional $1.5 million in funding for national animal identification system (NAIS) cooperative agreements with states.
?States that applied for funding in July and were not selected at that time are now eligible for a portion of the $1.5 million if they meet specified requirements,? stated Secretary Ann Veneman.
A total of $11.64 million for cooperative agreements with state and tribal governments to begin implementing NAIS was allocated earlier this year.
All states that applied for funding this past summer but were not selected have been notified of their eligibility for a minimum of $100,000 to carry out premises registration activities.
The revised applications are due by Dec. 1 and must address any feedback received during the evaluation of their first-round application.