District 43 State Sen. Al Davis and Nebraska State Veterinarian Dr. Dennis Hughes announce the creation of an Interstate Commuter/Grazing Agreement to allow movement of cattle between brand inspection areas of Nebraska and South Dakota.The agreement is based on the use of a registered brand as a primary means of identification, a health certificate and a permit issued by the state veterinarian from the state of destination.
Sen. Davis said, “This agreement, developed by Dr. Hughes, area producers and me, is a logical result of last year's LB 647. I introduced the bill to amend the Nebraska Animal Import Act which provides that individual identification is not required for cattle identified by registered brand, accompanied by state brand inspection certificate and imported directly from a mandatory brand inspection area of a state or portion of a state.”
“The Agreement,” Davis noted, “will relieve a rancher from the obligation to run cattle through a chute each spring and fall to read the metal tags and document them before they cross state lines. Each time an animal goes through a chute, there is risk of injury or death to the animal and some risk of injury to people managing the process. The brand is still the best identification process available, and using it to demonstrate ownership is still the best tool we have. We are pleased that the Nebraska State Department of Agriculture and Dr. Hughes recognize its value. I also believe that the agreement will make it easier for ranchers to comply with existing law which will help Nebraska as it deals with other disease threats to the state's number one industry.”
There are a number of rules which must be followed in order to comply with the prescribed protocol. Specifically, this particular permit was primarily constructed to benefit ranchers who winter cattle in one state and summer them in another. Cattle movement via the brand on these cows will only be permitted when entering or leaving the portions of each state which are a part of the brand area, so producers east of the line in Nebraska will be required to document animals with individual ID.
Animals moving via the brand must remain in a closed pasture and not co-mingle with other animals, and the appropriate health certificates and brand documents must be available. In addition, the animals must have a permanent identifier such as a bangs tag, but that requirement will be waived for the first year if the animals in question are identified with a ranch tag of some kind and a written record of the individual numbers, tag manufacturer, and size of tag is recorded.
“The new Interstate Commuter/Grazing Agreement should also be a helpful tool to Dr. Hughes in his efforts to limit the spread of bovine trichomoniasis which is on the rise in Nebraska. We commend Dr. Hughes for his determination to control this disease and applaud the Nebraska Department of Agriculture for its help and cooperation in the development of the Interstate Commuter/Grazing Agreement,” Senator Davis added.
Contact the Nebraska Department of Agriculture for more information on the permitting process.