2020 ANNUAL VISIT TO THE HILL
In March this year, just as Covid began to break out in America, Randy Dusek, American Goat Federation (AGF) President and Tammy Fisher, AGF Legislative and Public Policy Chair went to Washington, DC as part of the American Sheep Industry fly in. They met with a contingent of Scientists and Government officials with Agriculture Research Service (ARS) in Beltsville, Maryland. several members of congress and their staff members on Capital Hill, and representatives from USDA, the EPA, the Office of the US Trade Representative, and Department of the Interior. Read More
2020 ANNUAL MEETING
Tuesday, January 21, 2020 in conjunction with the American Sheep Industry Association Convention
Scottsdale Plaza Resort, Scottsdale, Arizona.
On Tuesday morning, January 21 American Goat Federation directors, advisors, members and others gathered at the Scottsdale Plaza Resort for the 2020 Annual Meeting. After taking care of general Federation business two new directors were appointed to the Board. Tammy Fisher is an attorney with her own small town law practice. She is a fifth-generation sheep, goat and cattle rancher in Sutton County, Texas. Dr. Alison Crane is the Kansas State University Sheep and Meat Goat Specialist. She received her Ph.D. in animal science from North Dakota State University.
Three new Advisors were added to the AGF Advisory Council. Dr. Stephen White from USDA Animal Research Services, Dr. Rosie Busch from UC-Davis, and Dr. Natalie Urie from USDA NAHMS who replaces Dr. Katherine Marshall on the Council. Background information on all AGF Directors and Advisors can be found on the AGF website: https://AmericanGoatFederation.org.
Officers for the AGF Board were elected. They are: Randy Dusek, President; Dr. Gary Newton, Vice President; and Dr. Alison Crane, Secretary/Treasurer. Randy Dusek was also appointed to be the official AGF representative on the Executive Board of the American Sheep Industry Association.
Other business included design of White Paper for the trip to Washington D.C. in March, tour of MARCS facility as part of a summer face-to-face meeting, finalization of the RFID Scrapie Field Trial operations plan and producer selection methods. The board approved a new Goat Industry Development and Marketing Committee to be co-chaired by Dr. Frank Pinkerton and Anita Dahnke.
On Tuesday afternoon, the American Goat Initiative (AGI) hosted the Small Ruminant Vaccine Development Roundtable organized by AGI with the assistance of AGF in late 2019.
In addition to AGI President, Tom Boyer and trustee Randy Dusek, participants from AGF, the American Sheep Industry Association, the Canadian Sheep Federation, USDA, university goat specialists, the US Animal Health Association, and Colorado Serum Company explored research and development of vaccines for small ruminants, and goats in particular. The two vaccines that topped the list of desired vaccines submitted by AGF member organizations were for the barber pole worm and Coxiellosis (Q Fever).
Dr. Paul Plummer, Executive Director, National Institute of Antimicrobial Resistance Research and Education (NIAMRRE), described his work in vaccine development and the challenges involved. Dr. Stephen White described the initial research they are doing on a Coxiellosis (Q Fever) vaccine. AGF has been cooperating with APHIS on Q Fever disease incidence and suppression activities for several years. Dr. James Miller discussed the benefits and challenges of BarberVax, the barber pole worm vaccine which is currently available in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. Dr. Randall Berrier, Senior Vice President of Scientific Affairs at Colorado Serum Company shared vaccine manufacturing possibility and interest.
Attendees discussed the possibilities of future FDA and USDA fast-tracking approval of vaccines that have already been approved and are in use in other countries to provide US sheep and goat farmer and ranchers with needed tools to combat internal parasites and Coxiellosis (Q fever). At a minimum, the industry needs clearly documented paths for these products to be approved for use in the US, so that private pharmaceutical companies, researchers, and industry organizations can direct concerted efforts to gain access to these products and/or develop new products in the near future.
After Corlena Patterson, Executive Director of the Canadian Sheep Federation and the Chairman, Allan Ribbink provided information on what they’ve been able to accomplish, attendees agreed that coordination with Canada to have dual approval processes that would create a shared pathway to multi-species small ruminant approval in both countries for vaccines would be beneficial and should be explored. Dr. Reid Redden, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension suggested that AGF work in cooperation with ASI to clearly express to congressional representatives the need for new vaccines and anthelmintics, some of which are already available to international sheep and goat producers whose products are being consumed in the US. It is important to emphasize the fact that if there are human or animal health risks to consuming products from animals treated with these products, why are imported sheep and goat meat allowed to be eaten in the US when the source has likely been given these products.
Roundtable members will continue to gather information and explore action items in order to develop a detailed action plan before taking the next step (i.e. going to USDA). Dr. Stephen White recommended that AGF immediately communicate the industry’s needs to Roxann Motrony, Program Leader for Animal Production and Protection at USDA/ARS. The American Goat Initiative is in the process of setting up a fund where tax deductible donations can be sent to support research for vaccine development and availability in the United States.