In May, June and July 2010, USDA hosted five public meetings to discuss Secretary Vilsack's new framework for animal disease traceability. Under the new framework, States and Tribes will be responsible for developing animal disease traceability systems that adhere to performance standards set by USDA. The forum provided a venue for APHIS to provide additional details about the new framework and to learn from industry representatives and producers how best to support the States and Tribes as they move forward to develop workable traceability systems. Meetings were held in Kansas City, Missouri, on May 11, Riverdale, Maryland, on May 13, Denver, Colorado, on May 17, Salt Lake City, Utah on June 24, and Fort Worth, Texas on July 1.
Following a welcome from the meeting moderator and brief logistical remarks, meeting participants were offered a presentation prepared by the California Department of Food and Agriculture on the needs for and benefits of animal disease traceability, from the perspective of the State of California (which has been grappling with traceability issues as it works to combat bovine tuberculosis).
Next, USDA officials offered details of the new framework. Here is the presentation that was offered, along with accompanying talking points.
The presentation portion of the meeting was concluded by a member of USDA's State/Tribal/Federal regulatory working group (which is working to develop the parameters of a proposed rule on animal disease traceability) who offered an update on the working group's activities. Included in this presentation was an overview of traceability performance standards that the WG is considering. Here is the presentation that was offered along with accompanying talking points.
Following the opening presentations, the meeting moved to small breakout discussions. Meeting attendees grouped themselves according to the species group that interested them most (they could choose from cattle, swine, sheep/goats, equine, poultry, and non-specific species). In their groups, participants addressed several questions related to two broad issues: traceability performance standards and evaluating tracing capability (each issue was discussed for approximately 1 hour; please see the discussion topics below). Following the discussion of each topic, each table reported out to the larger group and offered a brief summary of their conversation. Transcripts and summaries of these report-outs will be available and posted soon. Discussion participants were also given a handout that summarized the performance standards under discussion.
Throughout the meeting, participants were asked to write down any questions or concerns they had about animal disease traceability generally and about the material presented at the public meeting specifically. Following the first two breakout discussions, these questions were discussed. Here are the questions that were submitted (USDA is preparing written answers to these questions and will post them as soon as possible). Participants were also welcome to ask questions during an open Q&A portion of the meeting. Transcriptions and summaries of the Q&As will be available and posted soon.