Governor Walker recently signed into law Senate Bill 396, which will provide the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) with enough funding to maintain its mandatory premises registration. This funding will provide the DATCP with the necessary tools to react to the state livestock industry if a disease outbreak were to occur. The Wisconsin Livestock Identification Consortium (WLIC) has been the contracted agent for premises registration since 2005, and have been administering and providing these tools to the DATCP. With federal funding cut, the state and industry funding contribution will allow the organization to work with the DATCP to protect the livestock industry, while implementing an industry led outreach program through the Identifying Wisconsin branded tag program. The Identifying Wisconsin branded tag program will add new opportunities for livestock producers to obtain value added market considerations. With Fourdraine stepping down as the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the WLIC, the WLIC Board of Directors has begun work on developing a transition plan and evaluating all of the needs of the organization as they enter a new era.
"By signing Senate Bill 396, Governor Walker has shown his commitment to maintaining the mandatory livestock premises registration system and his understanding of the importance of disease traceability for Wisconsin's livestock industry," said DATCP Secretary Ben Brancel. "I thank Robert Fourdraine for his service as WLIC's COO and commend him for his contributions to Wisconsin agriculture. As we move ahead, I look forward to continuing Wisconsin's leadership in premises registration and to building additional marketing opportunities for the state's quality products."
David Cooper, Chairman of the WLIC Board stated, "We are appreciative of the many efforts, advancements, and accomplishments achieved by the organization during Robert Fourdraine's leadership and guidance as COO. With the support of the Wisconsin Livestock Industry, we will continue these advancements and provide those outreach tools to allow producers to be successful. The Board of Directors of the WLIC will move swiftly and methodically to ensure the needs of Wisconsin livestock producers are met at the WLIC. We look forward to the continued "Partnership to Protect and Promote Wisconsin" with the public/private relationship we have forged with State officials and the livestock industry."
Fourdraine stated, "The WLIC is a unique cooperative effort between producers, livestock organizations, and animal health officials with no equivalent in other states. I have seen how other countries have implemented systems, and a shared private-public model has proven to be the most effective model. The WLIC and its members have accomplished a lot; we are number one in premises registered and number four in terms of the use of official RFID use in herd management and traceability. Not only has our program benefitted the states traceability efforts, it has led to many producers being able to start using RFID technology for herd management and become more profitable. Livestock producers and industry have seen the value of the WLIC and support the long term implementation of a traceability program that will protect our livestock industry and also enhance marketing opportunities of livestock and livestock products. I am confident that the soon to be released Identifying Wisconsin branded tag program will provide some exciting new opportunities for Wisconsin agriculture to grow its markets for livestock and livestock products. I am proud to have been part of the efforts of the WLIC and I will look forward to the new programs and educational efforts the WLIC will be offering to producers in the future."
Cooper noted, "It is an exciting time at WLIC as we transition away from federal funding and work to continue the development of these new programs. Outreach and education will continue to be at the core of what the organization's mission and purpose is as we provide value to livestock producers."