COLUMBUS – New federal regulations require producers to be more vigilant in protecting the nation’s sheep and goats from scrapie, a deadly neurological disease.
A series of meetings in early 2002 will provide producers information about the new rules.
Seven Ohio meetings will take place in January and February, sponsored by Ohio State University Extension and the USDA.
The programs will clarify the USDA’s requirements for establishing sheep and goat identification systems as part of a government effort to track and eradicate scrapie, said Bill Shulaw, an OSU Extension veterinarian.
One of the new rules, which went into effect Nov. 19, requires that all sheep and goat producers provide ear-tag identification for livestock moving interstate for purposes such as marketing and exhibition.
Clearing things up. Shulaw said many producers are confusing the new regulations with the voluntary scrapie flock certification program that enables producers to certify their flocks are scrapie-free.
“What is really happening is that producers are being asked to come up to similar identification standards that are required of other livestock, such as cattle.
“An identification program for scrapie is a necessary tool to dealing with the disease effectively and part of the USDA’s overall goal of ridding the disease entirely.”
Reported cases. As of August 2001, the USDA reported approximately 1,600 confirmed scrapie cases in sheep and seven cases in goats, dating back to the first diagnosed case in 1947.
In Ohio, one of the states with the greatest number of scrapie cases, 14 infected sheep or source flocks of scrapie have been identified between October 2000 and this past September.
According to the Ohio Department of Agriculture, the state’s sheep herd numbers 142,000 head, at a value of $19.8 million.
Meeting schedule. The scrapie meeting schedule includes:
* Jan. 8 – Mt. Victory Plaza Inn, Mt. Victory, Ohio. Contact: Tammy Dobbels, Extension agent, 937-599-4227.
* Jan. 14 – Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, Wooster, Ohio. Contact: Terry Beck, Extension agent, 330- 264-8722.
* Jan. 17 – Tri-Valley High School, Dresden, Ohio. Contact: Jeff McCutcheon, Extension agent, 740-397-0401.
* Jan. 23 – Hancock County Agricultural Services Center, Findlay, Ohio. Contact: Gary Wilson, Extension agent, 419-422-3851.
* Jan. 31 – Ross County Extension office, Chillicothe, Ohio. Contact: John Yost, Extension agent, 740-335-1150.
* Feb. 5 – Guernsey County Extension office, Cambridge, Ohio. Contact: Clif Little, Extension agent, 740-432-9300.
* Feb. 11 – Upper Valley Joint Vocational School, Piqua, Ohio. Contact: Woody Joslin, program assistant, 937-498-7239.
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