Report From the WA State Department of Agriculture
Dr. Amber Itle, Interim Assistant State Veterinarian
Livestock Inspection Program – Financial Status
The financial status of the Livestock Inspection program has been a topic of conversation for several years. Former analysis provided to the LID Advisory Board in 2016 projected a budget shortfall of - $695,000 by the end of the 2017-19 biennium with no additional revenue.
During the 2017 legislative session, WSDA introduced legislation to respond to the identified revenue shortfall in the program. The 2017 legislative proposal was not envisioned to make the program solvent long-term. The legislation was not successful in making it through the legislative process. Had the bill passed as introduced, even with additional revenue, projections still left the program with a deficit of -$406,849. The proposal was developed to address the immediate budgetary crisis as a phase 1 while WSDA worked with industry to develop a long-term strategy and programmatic changes to address the budget shortfall in the coming years.
The Livestock Inspection program relies on its brand recording fund balance to assist with operational expenses. However, this account has realized shortfalls over the past 10 years. The program is not sustainable at current resource levels and with no additional revenue.
In FY17, the program’s expenditures were, on average, $28,064 over revenues each month. As of October 31, 2017 the program’s account balance was -$57,726.
As of September 2017 fiscal month close, the projected fund balance at the end of the 2017-19 Biennium is -$631,968. The Office of Financial Management has directed that this fund should have a two-month operating reserve ($315,600). Therefore, the projected 2017-19 biennium shortfall is -$947,568.
Director Sandison has asked the industry to determine what services they value in the Livestock Inspection program and what they are willing to pay for those services. The Livestock Inspection program is 100% supported by user-fees and it is the Departments hope that we can all work together to find solutions.
The Department will be taking interim service level reductions to achieve savings that can be accomplished internally to include:
· Evaluating the service of Customer Billing Accounts
· Initiating the process of eliminating employee overtime
· Initiating the process of implementing a hiring freeze
· Evaluating the organizational structure of the program
The interim service level reductions only begin to address the program’s financial situation. In light of no additional funds from the agency request fee bill in the 2017 legislative session and without an alternative solution, service level reductions are necessary. As we’ve learned, even with reduction in service levels, the projected budgetary shortage is still significant.
Please participate in the survey by clicking below, to let the WCA Brand Committee know your thoughts on moving forward, your comments will be most helpful!
WSDA proposed rule changes – Official Identification
CR-101 WAC 16-604:
Subject of possible rule making: Chapter 16-604 WAC, Public livestock markets – health, facilities, and sanitation.
The Department is considering amending chapter 16-604 of the Washington Administrative Code to require official USDA Radio-Frequency Identification device (RFID) on all sexually intact cattle and bison over eighteen months of age. To align with federal requirements, the Department is also considering amending chapter 16-604 WAC to amend the requirement that markets must maintain records from one year to five years.
CR-101 WAC 16-86:
Subject of possible rule making: Chapter 16-86 WAC, Cattle and bison diseases in Washington state.
The Department is considering amending chapter 16-86 of the Washington Administrative Code to require cattle be individually
identified with an official USDA Radio-Frequency Identification device (RFID) when female cattle receive brucellosis vaccination and when bulls are sampled for trichomoniasis.
If you would like to read either of the draft rules you can go to: https://agr.wa.gov/LawsRules/Rulemaking/
Or call/email the WCA office and we can send you a copy.