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UDAF Brand Inspection Program Creating Fiscal Responsibility for Citizens and Fairness for the Animal Industry

For ranchers, making ends meet is a struggle as old as time. Add to that a bumpy ride and wide range of uncertainties related to health, weather, market conditions, and even the location of lost or stolen animals.

The Utah Legislature is sensitive to those realities balanced against the fiscal responsibility and fairness for all citizens. So, for the last two years, officials at the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food (UDAF) and the Legislature have sought to create more alignment in the brand inspection fees category.

For many years, other funding was needed to correct budgetary shortfalls in brand inspection services and costs. However, working with legislative staffers last year, UDAF officials created a plan to bring parity to the program through prudent cost-cutting and adjustments to the fee schedule.

The results are now officially in with the brand inspection program now operating in the black for the first time in several years.

“I am proud of our team,” explained Leann Hunting, Animal Industry division director. “This was a very challenging issue that could have created a great deal of divisiveness in the industry, but the feedback we are now getting is positive and I am confident we are much stronger for having taken this course of action.”

Brand inspection fees are critical to the ranching industry, as the revenues generated create security and vitality in the industry. UDAF animal industry officials inspect nearly 1 million animals each year, registering almost 16,000 brands and earmarks, and issuing more than 57,000 certificates.

Funding through fees supports the agency’s ability to conduct brand identification and theft prevention activities. In fact, last year UDAF officials located and helped return 1,743 lost or stolen animals that were identified because of their brand. The value of these animals varies, but the market impact on ranchers is substantial – estimated at nearly $2 million.

“The work of our animal industry inspectors is an important part of our efforts to protect our ranchers and their industry,” said UDAF Commissioner Kerry Gibson. “In Utah, we understand that getting things done means working together for the common good, and that includes fairness and balance in our regulatory practices, fees, and services.”

Brand renewals will begin March 1, 2020, and are valid for five years. Registered brand owners will receive notification of the renewal process in the mail prior to February 14, 2020.

If notification of renewal is not received by February 14, 2020 brand owners may apply online at http://ag.utah.gov beginning March 1, 2020, using their brand registration number.

The renewal process will be done electronically but registration through the mail may also be accepted.

UDAF Organizes Waste Pesticide Collection Program

For the first time eight years, the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food (UDAF) Pesticide Program has organized a series of waste pesticide collection events in October.

“Proper disposal of unusable pesticides protects human health, property value, and the environment,” said UDAF Commissioner Kerry Gibson. “The longer a pesticide is held in storage, the greater the risk of unintentional environmental damage.”

Older pesticides are prone to leaks, risks for fire, floods, and storms, all of which can lead to unhealthy exposure to humans, livestock, and pets through direct contact and contaminated soil. They can also be expensive and time-consuming to clean up and restore.

Organized through a partnership with Clean Harbors Environmental Services and the Utah Department of Transportation, three collection events will be held across the state:

  • October 9 (9 am to 1 pm) at the Logan UDOT Shed at 790 W 200 N, Logan
  • October 21 (9 am to 1 pm) at the Spanish Fork UDOT Shed at 749 S. Main St., Spanish Fork
  • October 24 (9 am to 1 pm) at the Cedar City UDOT Shed at 1510 N. Bulldog Rd., Cedar City

There will be no charge for dropping off unused pesticides as UDAF officials want to encourage as much participation as possible.

Waste pesticides are considered to be any herbicide, insecticide, fungicide, or any of the other of the “cides” that is unwanted, or unusable as originally intended or has been canceled by EPA.

To participate in a waste pesticide collection event, operators must pre-register their products at the UDAF website at: https://ag.utah.gov/pesticide-collection-registration/

These events are intended mainly for the agricultural community, but commercial and non-commercial applicators are encouraged to participate. Individual homeowners with small amounts of unusable pesticides are directed to their city or county for residential programs in their area.

For more information, call UDAF at 801-538-7185 ext. 2.

New Vesicular Stomatitis Virus (VSV) Cases Now in Utah

Update as of 7:41 am, August 27

  • 1 identified and now quarantined in Emery County
  • 5 confirmed and quarantined in Uintah County
  • 3 premises quarantined and being investigated in Uintah County
  • 2 premises quarantined and being investigated in Grand County

Map:

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(Salt Lake City) – The Vesicular Stomatitis Virus (VSV), Indiana type, has been diagnosed on several premises in two counties in Utah, Uintah County and Emery County. These premises have been placed in quarantine. The quarantine period has been established as 14 days from the last animal to show clinical signs on these premises. Four more premises are currently under investigation and those samples that were submitted for testing should yield results before the end of the week.

Vesicular stomatitis is a viral disease that primarily affects horses and cattle and occasionally swine, sheep, goats, llamas, and alpacas. Humans can also become infected with the disease when handling affected animals, but this is a rare event. In affected livestock, the incubation period for vesicular stomatitis ranges from two to eight days. Often, excessive salivation is the first sign of the disease. Close examination of the mouth initially reveals blanched and raised vesicles or blister-like lesions on the inner surfaces of the lips, gums, tongue, and/or dental pad. In addition, these blister-like lesions can form on the lips, nostrils, coronary band, prepuce, vulva, and teats. The blisters swell and break, which causes oral pain and discomfort and reluctance to eat or drink. Lameness and severe weight loss may follow.

Since Utah has now been confirmed as a vesicular stomatitis state, it is essential that veterinarians and livestock owners be on the alert for animals displaying clinical signs of the disease. Veterinarians and livestock owners who suspect an animal may have vesicular stomatitis or any other vesicular disease should immediately contact the State Veterinarian at 801-538-7162 or USDA APHIS Veterinary Services at 801-524-5010. Diagnosis of the disease cannot be made based on clinical signs but requires testing of samples at an approved facility.

How vesicular stomatitis spreads is not fully known; insect vectors, mechanical transmission, and movement of animals are all factors. Once the disease is introduced into a herd, it may move from animal to animal by contact or exposure to saliva or fluid from ruptured vesicles. Humans rarely contract vesicular stomatitis, but they can become infected.

There is no specific treatment or cure for vesicular stomatitis. Good sanitation and quarantine practices on affected farms usually contain the infection. When a definite diagnosis is made on a farm, the following procedures are recommended:

  • Separate animals with lesions from healthy animals, preferably by stabling. Animals on pastures tend to be affected more frequently with this disease.
  • As a precautionary measure, do not move animals from premises affected by vesicular stomatitis until at least 14 days after lesions in the last affected animal have healed.
  • Implement on-farm insect control programs that include the elimination or reduction of insect breeding areas and the use of insecticide sprays or insecticide-treated ear tags on animals.
  • Use personal protective measures when handling affected animals to avoid human exposure to this disease.

UDAF Urges Preparedness for Five-Year Brand Renewals in 2020

The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food (UDAF) is reminding ranchers across Utah that the agency will be conducting brand registration renewals next year.

“Branding is a critical proof of ownership, supported in courts of law,” said Leann Hunting, UDAF director of Animal Industry. “But it’s also a theft deterrent and, as such, protects our ranchers, their property, and the industry as a whole.”

Hunting went on to say it’s important that industry producers understand and prepare for the renewal process as the Utah State Legislature made an update to the pricing and structure earlier this year. As of July 1, there is a $175 renewal fee which is paid once and the registration is valid for a period of 5 years.

“The new brand fee structure is important to the integrity of the program. As regulatory tracking and enforcement costs continue to rise, fees commensurate with those expenses are ultimately a protective measure to our vibrant ranching industry,” she said.

Brand renewals will begin March 1, 2020 and are valid for five years. Registered brand owners will receive notification of the renewal process in the mail prior to February 14, 2020.

If notification of renewal is not received by February 14, 2020 brand owners may apply online at http://ag.utah.gov beginning March 1, 2020 using their brand registration number.

The renewal process will be done electronically but registration through the mail may also be accepted.

Item

Fee

Change

Farm Custom Slaughter $100.00 No
Estray Animals Variable No
Citation (per violation) $200.00 No
Citation (per head) $2.00 No
Minimum Brand Inspection $20.00 Yes
Cattle (per head) $1.00 Yes
Beef Promotion – Cattle Only (per head) $1.50 No
Horse (per head) $2.00 Yes
Sheep (per head) $0.05 No
Show and Seasonal Permits Cattle (per head) $25.00 No
Horse (per head) $25.00 No
Horse Permit – Lifetime (first horse) $55.00 Yes
Horse Permit – Lifetime (horses after first) $35.00 No
Duplicate Lifetime $10.00 No
Lifetime Transfer $10.00 No
Special Sales $250.00 No
Brand Recording $75.00 No
Brand Renewal and Registration $175.00 Yes
Brand Transfer $175.00 Yes
Certified Copy of Recording (new brand card) $5.00 No
Brand Book $25.00 No
Elk Inspection New License $300.00 No
Brand Inspection (per elk) $5.00 No
Service Charge (per stop, per owner) $15.00 No
Elk Hunting Permit $100.00 No
Elk License Renewal $300.00 No
Late $50.00 No

Medical Cannabis Cultivator Licensees Selected

The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food and the Utah Division of Purchasing have selected eight companies to participate in Utah’s Medical Cannabis Cultivation Program.

“I want to personally thank all the businesses and individuals who participated in this process,” said Kerry W. Gibson, commissioner of the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food. “Our committee spent hundreds of hours reviewing 81 applications to make sure they selected the top producers who will deliver a high-quality, safe product for Utahns.” Regarding the awardees, Gibson continued, “Half of the awardees already have existing businesses in Utah and the other half are out of state but have Utah ties. All grows will be located in Utah. Seven of the proposed sites are in rural areas and one is in an urban area.”

The department has decided to award eight licenses, though the Utah Medical Cannabis Act allows up to ten licenses, said Andrew Rigby, Director of Medical Cannabis and Industrial Hemp Programs, Utah Department of Agriculture and Food. “The decision to only award eight licenses was made to avoid an oversupply of product, while still maintaining a healthy diversity of cultivators for purposes of competition of product quality and patient pricing.”

Cannabis program staff will spend the next several days reviewing the scope of the contracts with prospective licensees and reviewing other details.

“While these eight have been selected, the final approval of their licenses are still pending the completion of the background checks and compliance with other aspects of the law and rules,” said Melissa Ure, Senior Policy Analyst, Utah Department of Agriculture and Food.

The eight selected cultivators are in alphabetical order:

  • Dragonfly Greenhouse
  • Harvest of Utah
  • Oakbridge Greenhouses
  • Standard Wellness Utah
  • True North of Utah
  • Tryke Companies Utah
  • Wholesome Ag.
  • Zion Cultivars

The Utah Division of Purchasing provided great leadership and support through the Request for Proposals Process.

“We appreciate the time and effort that went into all of the applications,” said David Bundy, Utah Division of Purchasing. “Our evaluation committee reviewed every vendor and every document that was submitted to us independently. Each evaluator came to their own conclusions. We then met as a committee and discussed every vendor and their qualifications. Ultimately we decided on 8 highly qualified offerors the evaluation committee determined would be the best fit for the needs of the patients of Utah.”