Tag supplies are running low and Happy Handwashing Season!

Having trouble viewing this email? View it as a Web page.

board of animal health

Animal Bytes

October 2019

African Swine Fever exercise recap

Pigs in a holding pen

The multi-state functional exercise spanned four days in the last week of September. It tested responders on simulated outbreaks of African Swine Fever; all the way from surveillance and collecting samples to getting the industry moving again by allowing permitted movements of healthy pigs.

Here's a quick recap of the daily events:

  • Day one; Foreign Animal Disease Investigation; collecting samples and submitting them to the national laboratory.
  • Day two; Movement Standstill simulation; exercise the logistics of notifying and stopping movements of pork and products.
  • Day three; Depopulation and Disposal simulation; exercise the steps of securing equipment and carrying out the process.
  • Day four; Secure Pork Supply Permitting; exercise how to allow healthy farms to move animals for continuity of business.

What's next?

  • Minnesota's participants met for a hotwash earlier this month; an opportunity to discuss what they thought went well or what needs improvement.
  • The exercise evaluators' reports will be incorporated into the official After Action Report to be published and distributed.

Keep reading...

Tag supplies running low

Metal National Uniform Eartagging System (NUES) tags, including silver metal and orange Brucellosis vaccination tags, continue to be provided at no cost through the Board office. However, supplies are getting low and USDA has confirmed that no more tags will be manufactured when the current supply is depleted. We expect that the existing supply of silver NUES tags will be exhausted before the end of the year, while the orange vaccination tags may last into early 2020. A small number of the large plastic NUES tags are additionally available while supplies last.

Once NUES tags are no longer available from the Board office, accredited veterinarians will have the ability to purchase them through 12/31/2020 from either Ketchum Manufacturing or National Band and Tag companies. Livestock producers may contact their veterinarian for metal NUES tags or order official ear tags as desired from their preferred manufacturer.

As of 01/01/2021, NUES tags (both metal and plastic) are proposed to no longer be available from any source. NUES tags applied prior to 01/01/2021 are proposed to be recognized as official ID through 12/31/2022.

Johne’s Vaccine No Longer Available

Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health has discontinued Mycopar®, a Johne’s disease vaccine. There are currently no other vaccines approved for use in the U.S. Producers interested in decreasing Johne’s disease in their herds are encouraged to work with their veterinarian to learn about herd management options. The Board continues to offer a voluntary Johne’s Disease Control Program for cattle producers interested in working towards eliminating the disease in their herd.

The flexibility of biosecurity

Minnesota's livestock producers raise their animals in a variety of ways and there is no single path to success. However, one common denominator to healthy livestock is a solid biosecurity plan. The best part about biosecurity is how customizable it is for every farm and every situation.

The University of Minnesota Extension has a lot of resources to guide farmers through the process and how to adapt a plan to their situation. The global spotlight on African Swine Fever makes biosecurity especially important for swine producers. Check out this biosecurity info packed webpage for small scale swine producers.

Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program request for nominations - Due November 11

Once again, the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) is soliciting nominations for veterinary shortage situations across the country. Minnesota has been allotted a maximum of seven nomination areas to be filled in the next federal fiscal year. Once a nomination has been approved, veterinarians will be given an opportunity to compete for an award through the United States Department of Agriculture) USDA’s Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program (VMLRP), which reimburses qualified student loan debt in exchange for veterinarians working in rural areas of need.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, veterinarians graduate with an average debt load of $141,000. This debt makes it increasingly difficult for rural, food animal practices to competitively recruit and retain qualified veterinarians. The VMLRP offers a solution by incentivizing service in designated shortage areas by paying off a portion of qualified loans. If selected for a VMLRP award, veterinarians must commit to at least three years in rural practice to receive $25,000 annually in loan repayment.

Contact Dr. Courtney Wheeler at courtney.wheeler@state.mn.us or 651-201-6800 to suggest a shortage area nomination.

National handwashing campaign announced

A message from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

CDC recently launched Life is Better with Clean Hands, encouraging adults to make clean hands a healthy habit at home and on the go. Washing your hands is easy, and it’s one of the most effective ways to avoid getting sick, especially for anyone who comes in contact with animals. Animals, including pets, can sometimes carry germs that can make people sick, even if they look clean and healthy. 

Always wash your hands with soap and water:

  • After touching animals.
  • After feeding animals or handling their food, including pet food and treats.
  • After handling animal habitats or equipment (cages, tanks, toys, food and water dishes).
  • After cleaning up after pets.
  • After leaving areas where animals live (coops, barns, stalls), even if you did not touch an animal.
  • Before eating and drinking.
  • Before preparing food or drinks.
  • After removing soiled clothes or shoes.

Next quarterly Board of Animal Health meeting

The final 2019 quarterly meeting of the Minnesota Board of Animal Health is scheduled for Wednesday, December 11, 2019.

The meeting location is Room 280 at the University of Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory:

1333 Gortner Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55108

You can find the latest agenda on our website.