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Montana Ag Report: New rules for sheep and goat industry

Posted at 9:38 AM, Apr 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-22 11:40:12-04

BILLINGS – A new USDA regulation to improve disease traceability in sheep and goats has been published in the Federal Register.

The rule — which was first proposed in 2015 — has been anticipated by the U.S. sheep and goat industry since 2016.

For the most part, the U.S. sheep and goat industry will not notice much of a difference in the Scrapie Eradication Program.

The American Sheep Industry Association’s Peter Orwick says some changes will be noticed by goat producers and those moving animals in slaughter channels or transporting unidentified sheep or goats.

This latest installment is a regulatory update by USDA APHIS to take the final step for eradication of scrapie in sheep in the United States. So, for most producers there won’t be a change,” Orwick explained.

“If you’re a goat producer, this rule brings you closer on par with what sheep producers have already been doing for nearly 20 years in scrapie eradication and animal I.D.,” he added.

Orwick says the new rule finally recognizes all the hard work put forth by U.S. sheep and goat producers.

APHIS is recognizing all the genetic testing that we’ve done over the last 15 years to get scrapie resistance built into our commercial herds particularly our purebred and breeding animals,” he said.

“They also want to recognize that the sheep industry has its great I.D. system that really can’t be replicated anywhere else in livestock.”

Orwick added that the new regulation also ensures the overall health and safety of U.S. sheep and goats to our customers.

Exactly! If you have breeding stock to sell that are are disease free, you’re able to trade seed stock with other countries,” Orwick said.