Bovine Tuberculosis Listening Sessions

Bovine Tuberculosis Listening Sessions

From December 8-16, 2008, a series of public meetings formatted as listening sessions was held to bring various stakeholders together to discuss challenges and new approaches for bovine tuberculosis (TB) control methods and eradication in the United States. The public meetings were announced in the November 20, 2008 Federal Register and in a November 24, 2008 news release. At each listening session, there were at least two opportunities for participants to provide formal public comments to the entire audience. Also, USDA asked participants to divide into focus groups for more in-depth group discussions. When possible, these focus groups included a variety of representatives: producers, industry representatives, wildlife and State agriculture officials, etc.

At the conclusion of these meetings, USDA indicated that summaries of each public meeting would be posted on USDA's Web site. The purpose of posting the summaries is to increase transparency and allow those who could not participate to review the topics of discussion.

Please click on the corresponding link at the end of this introduction to access comments from the listening sessions. Each section contains a summary and listing of comments and suggestions made or submitted in writing during the sessions, or in association with a particular session. Written comments and suggestions submitted to USDA during this time period, though not in connection with a particular listening session, appear under “Additional Written Comments”. You will find USDA's summary and interpretation of the feedback for each topic, followed by individual points that were brought up or submitted. Some points were paraphrased by USDA's listening session facilitators; other points are quoted more directly, sometimes with editing for clarification. The summaries and points reflect the observations, opinions, and knowledge of listening session participants and other commenters. They are not fact-checked, nor do not they reflect the views of USDA.


Numerous references are made that reflect, as one commenter put it, “the diverse herd types found within the U.S.”, as well as the various classes of cattle and the purposes for which they are used. Several different terms are used to refer to a process in which cattle are fed to increase their weight. These terms include backgrounding, reconditioning, developing, and pasturing; the process sometimes takes place at a feedlot, feedyard, or on a pasture/range. Often cattle that are weaned but not ready for feedlots or feedyards yet (stocker cattle, also called backgrounders) are pastured; some pastured animals are taken to locations other that feedlots or feedyards after pasture.

Some feedlots and feedyards, especially “multi-purpose feedyards,” include animals that are bound for slaughter and animals that will be taken to other locations for purposes such as breeding. Sometimes animals enter a feedlot/feedyard in one channel (i.e., the slaughter channel) and are redirected into another channel (i.e., a breeding channel) for any number of reasons. Multisite herd refers to a single herd (having the same owner or owners) with animals located at more than one site; commuter herd refers to a multisite herd that includes sites in different States.

References to feeder cattle/calves, fed cattle, and especially finish-fed cattle often refer to cattle that are bound directly for slaughter from a feedlot or feedyard. “Freemartin” refers to a heifer that is born a twin to a bull calf and does not have a reproductive tract; as a result, freemartins typically enter a slaughter channel. Similarly, cull cattle are animals that are removed from a herd because their productive life, due to age or other reasons such as illness, is finished. While some cattle used for events such as rodeos enter a slaughter channel after appearing in one event, references to timed event cattle generally refer to animals that are often used over and over again in the same event (roping or bulldogging, for instance), and thus typically are not bound for slaughter in the near future.

For further general information about cattle industry practices and operations in the United States, the following Web links—none of which is affiliated with or endorsed by USDA—may be helpful resources.

Dairy Cattle Terms

Beef Cattle Terms

Feedlot Cattle Terms

Listening Sessions

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