The American Goat Federation promotes and facilitates the development of all segments of the goat industry including dairy, meat and fiber, by encouraging sound public policy, enhancing production and marketing of goat products, and promoting research beneficial to our member organizations and all producers.
Approved 1-23-10 Nashville ASI Meeting
Randy Dusek, AGF President talks about the US goat industry, cattle and the future.
Randy Dusek, AGF Vice President and representative observer on the American Sheep Industry Association Executive Board of Directors delivered the annual AGF report of goat industry issues and AGF activities at the 2022 ASI Annual Convention. AGF works in conjunction with ASI on issues of interest to both the sheep and goat industries and joins them in Washington DC in order to represent goat producers and make sure the goat industry is heard.
In the eleven years since our inception, AGF has become a powerful voice for goat producers throughout the United States and across all segments of the industry. With the help of our member organizations like TSGRA, we have been able to coordinate industry efforts to be heard at congress and USDA. When requested, AGF has supported and provided assistance for local, regional and national goat organization efforts to protect the industry, provide services for goat producers, and educate the general public about the true nature of goats and our industry.
AGF continues to hold a nonvoting seat on the Executive Board of the American Sheep Industry Association. Currently, Randy Dusek, President of the AGF Board of Directors serves in that capacity. This allows AGF, and in turn, the goat industry members of AGF access to information that affects all small ruminant producers. AGF also sends letters of support for any ASI projects that will also benefit goat producers, thus adding our voice to that of ASI and strengthening the impact. The AGF Executive Director is a member of the ASI Electronic ID Committee and provides input from goat producers as needed.
AGF is a member of the National Institute of Animal Agriculture (NIAA) and our Executive Director serves on their Animal ID committee. AGF is also a member of the United States Animal Health Association (USAHA), the International Goat Association (IGA), and the Animal Agriculture Alliance (AAA), as well as an affiliate member of the National Goat Consortium.
With the help of member organizations, many of which worked long and hard, we were able to get some goat dairy, fiber and meat products included in the most recent CFAP that ends on December 7. TSGRA was instrumental in getting the mohair industry included in that bill.
Listed below are current activities:
Safe Goat and Sheep Handling System - AGF received funding for FY-20 under a cooperative agreement with USDA to create and place two systems in major auction houses around the country to increase surveillance and improve worker safety and animal welfare by allowing easy tagging of adult feral goats that require substantial labor and present safety issues for tagging personnel. This project is under-way and we look forward to beginning production by the 1st of the year.
Scrapie – AGF supported the ASI request of $26.5M including an additional $6M in order to eradicate Scrapie from the US and become Scrapie free. We told USDA that we believe the goat industry will not reach the same level of scrapie eradication as the sheep industry until we have USDA approval of the DNA testing of goats for scrapie resistance and we are able to push for that in the goat industry. AGF also requested that USDA establish a reasonable budget for APHIS personnel to purchase goats that meet the common criteria for having Scrapie for testing, to help move the pursuit of scrapie eradication to the next level so we can begin exporting our breeding stock to more foreign countries. AGF also supported the ASI request for the FY-22 budget including the $1.7M for identification and enhanced traceability, and requested that AGF be included on the OIE Committees.
EID Identification – AGF informed USDA that we believe the move to require EID identification for goats should be based on a working group that represents Producers, Markets, Harvest and Regulatory sectors to establish effective and efficient procedures that are acceptable to all sectors. This includes costs and timelines. AGF received funding in FY-19 for a RFID Tag Retention Field Trial that is providing input as to the retention and use of EID Scrapie Tags under various field conditions. This project is continued for FY-20. AGF is committed to work with our member organizations and ASI to explore an effective disease traceability project that is not unduly burdensome on goat producers. We informed ASI and USDA that there is significant usage of EID implants in the goat industry and believe that needs to be explored prior to any decision to discontinue approval of microchip ID implants.
Small Ruminant Vaccine Development Roundtable – in coordination with AGI, AGF organized a roundtable of industry stakeholders and others to pursue and encourage development of vaccines for goats. The first meeting was held at the 2020 AGF Annual Meeting and the following actions have been taken so far:
• Q Fever Vaccine – AGF has requested and continues to request assistance in gaining access to the version now available in Europe and Australia or creating our own US vaccine. We were pleased to hear Dr. Stephen White’s report that USDA/ARS has committed to development of a vaccine for Q Fever. We continue to pursue development of other vaccines that will benefit goat producers and ask that all support possible be given to his or other programs that will result in a vaccine to control this disease that plagues the goat industry.
• CL Vaccine – AGF noted that we need an effective CL Vaccine for goats and appreciate the work being done to develop one. Right now we have the CL Vaccine for goats produced by Texas Veterinary Labs that can be purchased over the counter in some states, but other states require a prescription. The other available option is having an autogenous vaccine manufactured from the pus pulled from a CL abscess. UC Davis offers this service.
• Barberpole Worm Vaccine – We continue to request assistance in gaining access to the versions now available in Europe and Australia or creating our own US vaccine.
Secure Goat Supply Plan – AGF has historically been involved in planning meetings regarding the establishment of Secure Supply programs for various species. For FY-20 AGF received funding under a cooperative agreement with USDA to put together a plan and establish a website similar to those for the other livestock species in the US. We know this will be a major project in spite of the existence of the plans for other species due to the issues the goat industry faces that will make a comprehensive program more difficult to achieve. Industry experts, stakeholders, state officials and others will be included on the working committee to develop this program.
Quality Assurance – AGF is committed to the development of a National Goat Quality Assurance Program. The AGF Goat Wellbeing website page, will be expanded as the plan gets completed. Tammy Fisher, our director from Texas, is currently working to assist the US Mohair Industry develop a program. Tammy is chair of the Committee that will coordinate with member organizations, affiliate members, outside industry and government experts as the plan moves forward. When completed, it will reference any existing industry segment programs as part of the overall plan.
MUMS – AGF supported $500M in funding for this very important program for the goat industry. Biologics, Dewormers, and Antibiotics are critical to animal welfare and to producer profitability – please assist us where possible with these items.
NAHMS – AGF expressed appreciation for the 2019 Goat study and receipt of information collected from participating producers. It is invaluable for our industry. Special Thanks to Dr. Katherine Marshall who invited us to be part of the symposium in Fort Collins and her efforts to make the study successful, and thanks to Dr. Natalie Urie for including us in the effort to complete the study. This was an opportunity for producers to provide input directly to APHIS which is invaluable for them, for industry leaders and for animal health stakeholders.
Wildlife Services – AGF supported the ASI request of $112M for this invaluable help to our producers including the $19M for Wildlife Services Methods Development.
USSES – AGF supported the ASI request of $4.14M for grazing and disease research and we further request that where feasible goat related research be included.
USMARC – AGF informed USDA that USMARC can and should provide valuable goat-based research, and formally rquested that AGF be included in future Stakeholder meetings.
Market Development – AGF informed USDA that their efforts to open markets for goats including live animals, semen, embryos and other goat products are greatly appreciated and asked that the efforts be continued. Market expansion is a foremost goal for AGF. An important part of market development is the availability of slaughter facilities and we appreciate any assistance that can be provided to increase slaughter facilities for sheep and goats.
None of this would be possible without members. Membership fees help support our outreach programs and provide services to our members. They help us serve the entire goat industry by helping fund out trips to Washington DC to present industry concerns to various government officials, USDA and Congress.
2020 ANNUAL VISIT TO THE HILL Spring, 2020.
2020 ANNUAL MEETING
Tuesday, January 21, 2020
in conjunction with the American Sheep Industry Association Convention
Scottsdale Plaza Resort, Scottsdale, Arizona.
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.