NMSU officials to give lessons at Ag Expo

By Tony Parra

By Tony Parra
PNT Staff Writer
New Mexico State University extension agents will be conducting seminars to keep ranchers and those in the dairy industry up to date on the animal identification tags and composting animal carcasses during the 13th Annual Agriculture Expo on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Ron Parker, New Mexico Extension Beef Specialist, will be conducting the animal identification tag seminar at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday as part of the Ag Expo, which is scheduled to have more than 450 exhibitors of farm, ranch and dairy products and services.
The Portales Livestock auction company has been in business since the 1950s and manager Randy Bouldin said it’s a subject he’s definitely interested in.
“It’s certainly very important,” Bouldin said. “We like to stay up to date. We deal with that aspect more with the U.S.D.A. than with our sellers.”
Bouldin said Portales Livestock auction deals with the purchasing and selling of dairy heifers.
“I believe the Animal I.D. program will be introduced at some point in time,” Parker said. “It may be two, five or 10 years away. We anticipate that either through the U.S.D.A. (United States Department of Agriculture) or through legislation they will make animal IDs mandatory or voluntary.”
Parker said even if it only becomes voluntary, it could have an effect on the livestock sellers. Parker said consumers will view the livestock purchased with animal ID tags as more desirable than livestock without.
Parker said the main intention is make tracing the origin of the beef simpler. Parker said that mad cow disease wasn’t the main cause for animal ID legislation, but that it did shine a spotlight on the origin of the beef industry more.
“Animal ID tags have been in development years in advance before 2002, before mad cow was discovered in livestock in Washington on Dec. 23, 2003,” Parker said.
Parker said microchips are used mostly for horses as animal ID tags and radio-frequency tags on cattle. Bouldin said he doesn’t see radio-frequency tags on the dairy heifers, but rather ear tags. Bouldin said branding is used to trace the origin of dairy heifers in New Mexico, but not in other states, such as Texas.
Hillary Sullivan, NMSU extension dairy specialist, will also be presenting a seminar at 10 a.m. on Wednesday at the Ag Expo on composting animal carcasses.
“They (NMSU Extension officials) are going to be talking about a process of composting animal carcasses efficiently without polluting the environment and following environmental guidelines,” Roosevelt County Extension Agent Floyd McAlister said. “It’ll be helpful for large dairy operators in getting rid of carcasses on their site.”
The expo begins Monday night with a banquet at 7 p.m. at the Campus Union Building ballroom at Eastern New Mexico University.