Thursday, January 26, 2023

Board of Livestock Making Progress


Yesterday the Montana Board of Livestock held the first day of their May Board meeting in Helena. Northern Ag Network’s Taylor Brown covered the meeting and said all seven of the Board was in attendance, along with over 20 guests, mostly Department Staff, Legislators, and livestock industry leaders.


Three District Investigators, Paul Johnson from Great Falls, Shawn Hando from Billings, and Nye Howey from Three Forks were there to report on the progress implementing the new hand-held computers to record brand inspections electronically in the field. The new system was deployed in 2012 with a $250,000 Grant from the Homeland Security Department, and currently there are 28 hand-held units being used to enter local brand inspections across the state.  Howey said he feels the new system works well and saves time, but Hando pointed out that there is a learning curve for Brand Inspectors to learn the new system, and though it takes a little more time to enter data at the beginning when outside in the pen, the system saves a lot of office time at the end of the day.  Brands Division Chief John Grainger said that because the Board of Livestock has shown interest in the program, the implementation of the new electronic system has started to go better.  Every “livestock brands” state is making some form of transition to electronic brand certificates.

In the Fiscal Report, George Harris said some departments are making more progress than others in meeting the Board’s required budget cuts to make year-end spending reductions. In his report, Harris reported that through furloughs and staff reductions, the Central Services Division is projecting to meet and exceed the Board’s requirement y $33,663.  Similarly the Vet Diagnostic Lab has exceeded Board requirements by $13,944.  In the Brands Enforcement Division, the target savings are not quite being met, as that division is expected to be $12,476 short of meeting Board budget reductions at the end of the fiscal year on June 30th.  With some help from Federal Animal Disease Traceability funds, the Animal Health Division is expected to exceed the Board’s required reductions by a positive $19,717.  The bottom line is that only the Brands Division will likely not be able to achieve the savings that have been asked by the Board.

The Board will re-convene at 8:00AM on Tuesday, and will again be streamed live on the Internet.  T

CLICK HERE to watch the BOL Meeting on Tuesday from 8 AM to 5 PM




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