WLIC Unveils Future Direction

On September 20th the Wisconsin Livestock Identification Consortium's membership approved plans for transitioning from a largely federally funded program to a program funded by industry and government. The proposal is a three-part approach which consists of a shared federal and state contribution, a branded tag initiative, and an industry sponsorship program. For Wisconsin to maintain an industry and producer led premises and traceability system, WLIC needs around $500,000, half of which is expected to still come from federal or state funds to cover the mandatory state premises registration program and meet current and future regulatory requirements needed to protect animal health. "Wisconsin livestock producers have a lot at stake if markets are limited or eliminated due to an animal disease outbreak. We simply can't turn our backs on that possibility and assume it won't happen here. This future direction helps protect Wisconsin and its producers," notes David Cooper, WLIC Board of Directors Chairman. The Wisconsin Origin Branded Tag Initiative would allow official identification distributors to sell a Wisconsin branded 840 tag with a portion of the proceeds going towards the animal identification programs that WLIC currently maintains. As consumers and export markets require more traceability of the product sold back to the farm of origin, the branded tag initiative will allow Wisconsin to take a leadership position in this effort. It will also allow for marketability of Wisconsin livestock and livestock products abroad. The plan also includes an Industry Sponsorship program which will allow any individual or organization that supports WLIC's efforts to make a monetary contribution. In return, WLIC will offer a variety of services and advertising opportunities which can be tailored to the needs of the individual or organization. The sponsorship program will assist in continuing educational outreach programs and communication efforts to the livestock industry. This three-part approach is known as the Partnership to Protect & Promote Wisconsin as the programs WLIC currently run are vital to the protection of Wisconsin's livestock industry while maintaining confidentiality and not increasing cost to producers. "Wisconsin has been leading the nation in traceability since 2001, when livestock groups organized into what eventually became WLIC," said Wisconsin Secretary of Agriculture, Ben Brancel. "That support from producers and the private-public partnership has made all the difference. We've taken strides toward getting animals identified, whether it's low-tech or RFID, and in registering premises. That's vital to our continued ability to respond fast and effectively to disease threats." The mission of the Wisconsin Livestock Identification Consortium is to create a secure livestock identification system to protect animal health and market access, and to offer opportunities that enhance the marketability of Wisconsin livestock products. Representing more than fifty businesses, organizations and livestock producer associations, WLIC draws upon the collective strength of its diverse membership to help strengthen and advance animal disease traceability in Wisconsin and the nation as a whole. To learn more about WLIC visit www.wiid.org. 09.27.2011