Madison, Wis. (April 10, 2023) – The Wisconsin Livestock Identification Consortium (WLIC) hosted its annual meeting on Thursday, April 6 at the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP), showcasing the importance of animal disease traceability and how WLIC serves to support the livestock industry through a robust and accurate premises database.
WLIC began its annual event by welcoming Dr. Gretchen May, DVM, Veterinary Program Manager at DATCP, who shared an update on animal diseases impacting livestock commerce and the progress of premises renewals that began in 2022. WLIC manages premises ID renewals for the State of Wisconsin in cooperation with DATCP. The renewal process occurs every three years and new premises ID’s are created as needed.
“Large numbers of livestock move across the state and state lines every year, and DATCP is grateful for the assistance that WLIC is able to provide in accomplishing our goal of maintaining a current and accurate premises ID database. This is an important part of the traceability program and allows us to rapidly identify and contact livestock producers during disease investigations and outbreaks,” Dr. May shared. “We look forward to continuing such a strong partnership.”
Dr. Eric Gingerich, Poultry Technical Services Specialist with Diamond V, was a guest speaker during WLIC’s Annual Meeting, and shared information regarding Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI), as it has become a highly contagious virus negatively impacting poultry farmers across the U.S. With first-hand experience in diagnosing birds with the disease, he also seen the impact of entire poultry operations terminating their flocks because of HPAI.
“The current outbreak is the worst in U.S. history, as more than 60 million birds have either died as a result of a bird flu virus infection or have been culled due to exposure to infected birds,” said Dr. Gingerich, during his presentation. “The impact on the farmer financially and mentally is immense. Migratory birds have the ability to carry the virus without any signs and transmit the virus through their feces that then can be carried on dust particles in the air. Extensive security measures are needed to ensure that the virus doesn’t spread inside a barn. To do this, poultry farms need to have sanitation measures in place, so trucks and employees are not bringing in the virus. Even with these protocols, the virus can still find a way in and infect the entire bird population within days via the incoming air. What is needed in the future to prevent contaminated incoming air from infecting flocks is some means of treating the incoming air to inactivate the virus.”
During the business session, Executive Director Julie Sweney shared updates on total premises renewals in 2022 and 2023 along with CVI entries. She also outlined several accomplishments by the organization, highlighting software improvements, the financial standing of the organization and its strategic plan for the future. The organization has intentions to continue to grow while promoting and raising awareness of the importance of traceability throughout Wisconsin.
“Making animal disease traceability a priority today allows us to protect what we have tomorrow, and by working together, we can accomplish this level of protection,” Sweney shared during her update to attendees.
During the reorganization meeting for WLIC, Barb Lee of Sunburst Swiss was elected Chair of the board, with Scott Schneider of Nature Link Farms elected as Vice-Chair. Alison Kepner representing Compeer Financial was elected Treasurer, and Val Gaffney of Gaffney Family Cattle was elected Secretary.
Newly elected to serve on the board were Betty Lund of FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative, AV Roth of Roth Feeder Pig, Inc., representing the Wisconsin Pork Producers Association and re-elected to a second three-year term was Matt Crimmins representing Johnsonville Sausage. Special recognition was also given to retiring board members including Mike Salter, Brenda Murphy and Julie Sweney.
Other members of the 12-person board include John Haag of Haag Dairy representing the Professional Dairy Producers (PDPW), Rob Meier representing Equity Cooperative, Bob Mitchell of Spring Creek Cattle, Co. representing Wisconsin Cattlemen’s Association, Kevin Krentz of Krentz Family Dairy representing the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation and Vicki Janisch representing the Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin.
“We are eager to continue building on our past successes while looking forward to fulfilling our mission and protecting Wisconsin’s thriving livestock industries across the state,” says Barb Lee. “Our work is vital in protecting the state’s livestock infrastructure and therefore the livelihoods of so many livestock producers not only here in Wisconsin but across the U.S.”
Wisconsin Livestock Identification Consortium (WLIC) is a private, non-profit (501c3) organization working to protect animal health through traceability by premises identification used to prevent the spread of livestock disease. For more information or to become a member or sponsor, visit www.wiid.org or call 888-808-1910.
Access company logos and staff photos: wiid.org/media-files/