Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Shipping cattle to another state? Quick rule reviews available online

David Hecimovich
Animal Disease Traceability manager

If you’re shipping dairy or beef cattle across state lines and want quick information on interstate travel requirements, there’s a relatively new website you should check out. 

InterstateLivestock.com, sponsored by the U.S. Animal Health Association (USAHA) and the National Institute for Animal Agriculture, has been operating since October. 

The information posted on the website makes it easier for producers, veterinarians and marketers to understand and meet animal health import requirements before moving cattle. Once online, users enter the state they are shipping from and the destination state. The user then will be asked pertinent questions including species, sex, and age of the livestock; certificate of veterinary inspection status, and other necessary details. 

State animal health officials collaborated on creating the site. Each state, including Washington, updates its import requirements on the website when new or amended livestock rules are adopted. 

The website provides instant access to shipping information without having to call a specific state about requirements. Navigating the website is quick and easy to follow. Check out InterstateLivestock.com today.

Monday, March 7, 2016

The Monarch and the Moth

Karla Salp
Pest Program Outreach Coordinator

Will gypsy moth treatmens affect the monarch butterflyAs we’ve been conducting outreach and education about our proposed gypsy moth treatment plan, people are getting it: We need to treat for the gypsy moth to protect our environment. Btk is safe for people, pets, birds, fish, and bees. Btk only affects the caterpillars of moths and butterflies.

But if it affects these caterpillars, what does that mean for the monarch butterfly?

A great question indeed! The short answer (spoiler alert!) is that it doesn’t affect the monarch butterfly in our state. Keep reading if you would like to know why.

First, Washington is not a primary migration area for monarch butterflies; the primary migration path is in the Midwest. Eastern Washington has a handful of monarch sightings each year, but sightings are somewhat rare in Western Washington. (According to Learner.org, which tracks monarch sightings, only one adult monarch was sighted in Western Washington in mid-July in 2015. No eggs or larva were sighted. There were no monarchs sighted in Western Washington in 2014.)

In fact, compared to many other locations, butterflies of any kind are somewhat few and far between in Western Washington because they don’t much care for our wet weather.

Monarch on flower photo by Jim Occi, BugPics, Bugwood.org
Photo by Jim Occi, BugPics, Bugwood.org
However, even if some monarchs migrate through our state, they would not be affected by our treatments for one simple reason: the monarch butterfly does not have the same life cycle as the gypsy moth.

The monarch caterpillar (larva) begins feeding in our state in late June at the earliest. Gypsy moth treatments generally end in May. Because Btk degrades so rapidly, it would not affect any caterpillar beyond 10 days after treatment. Adult monarchs are not affected by Btk at all.

Both because of the low numbers of monarchs that migrate to Washington and because their lifecycle differs from the gypsy moth, WSDA’s gypsy moth treatments will not affect monarch populations. Visit agr.wa.gov/gypsymoth to learn more about the gypsy moth threat and WSDA’s work to protect our environment.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Worker protection guidance now available to marijuana growers

Joel Kangiser
Policy Assistant, Pesticide Management Division 

Indoor marijuana growing operation
 Much attention has focused recently on pesticides in marijuana, specifically on using only appropriate, allowed pesticides. At the same time, there’s emerging concern for the safety of employees who work around pesticides. Marijuana growers are as responsible as any other crop producer for protecting their employees from pesticides exposure. 

The Worker Protection Standard (WPS) has been around for more than 20 years. Conventional agriculture is well familiar with what most refer to as WPS. For Washington state’s newly legal marijuana industry, it’s a whole new arena. 

That’s why WSDA created a guide to specifically help marijuana growers understand and comply with the WPS requirements. These are not new rules created for the industry, but existing rules that apply to the marijuana industry as much as they do to any other growers.  

The Worker Protection Standard covers such things as: 

  • Employee pesticide safety training.
    Agriculture worker receiving
    protective gear training
  • Notification of pesticide applications.
  • Decontamination supplies.
  • Personal protective equipment requirements.
  • Restrictions on entering pesticide-treated areas. 

WSDA is currently providing technical assistance to marijuana growers on the WPS requirements. Full enforcement can be expected down the road.

Even though the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has not authorized pesticide use specifically for marijuana, EPA’s position is that WPS applies to marijuana growers. Complying with WPS represents good business practice for the industry and its employees. Furthermore, it is required by both state and federal law, applying to marijuana growers whenever they use pesticides labeled for agricultural use. 

We at WSDA encourage growers to read the new guide and call us at 360-902-2040 with any questions.