Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Inspecting livestock in the 21st Century

By:  Lynn Briscoe
Animal Services Division 

Our Livestock Inspection Program working at the Stockland Livestock Auction in Davenport recently hosted a few guests from Idaho's State Brand Department, Department of Agriculture and even the federal Department of Homeland Security.

WSDA's Kyle Schaffer demonstrates the new
system to Ken Wood of the Idaho Brand Board.
Why did they join us? Like many of our counterparts in neighboring states and nearby Canadian provinces, the representatives from Idaho and the federal government were interested in WSDA's new electronic system for tracking data collected during a livestock inspection.  

All this month, our Livestock Inspection Program has been working on this new system, created thanks to funding provided through the support of the Legislature and our partners in Washington's dairy and cattle industries. The application that was developed allows our brand inspectors to collect the same inspection data they always have, but store it electronically on a
computer tablet, rather than jotting it down on a paper form.

WSDA's Kris Budde enters livestock
data into a computer tablet
This makes the information easier to store and easier to retrieve. Modernizing this data collection not only creates efficiencies within the program, but also enhances the department’s animal disease traceability efforts. It updates methods and processes by which livestock movement information is collected, stored, and easily made accessible to animal health officials. That would be critical during an animal disease outbreak.  

The representatives and board members from the Idaho's brand and agriculture departments joined us July 26 and 27 to watch the new system in action and take part in its live implementation during the scheduled sale. 

If you are at a public livestock market and see our staff using a computer tablet, feel free to take a look at the process they are following. It is an historic change for the agency and animal disease traceability in our state.