WESTMINSTER, CO – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s top official overseeing the agency’s marketing and regulatory programs will be among the speakers addressing more than 400 bison ranchers, marketers and enthusiasts scheduled to gather at the Renaissance Denver Hotel January 22-25.
Greg Ibach, USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulation, is expected to focus on the agency’s work in improving animal traceability, but will likely touch on a variety of other issues important to U.S. bison ranchers and markets. Agencies under Ibach’s jurisdiction at USDA include the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS).
“We are extremely pleased to have Under Secretary Ibach joining us at our conference because the agencies he oversees impact our business in many important ways,” said Dave Carter, executive director of the National Bison Association. “His participation at our conference is a reflection of the excellent working relationship that the bison business has cultivated with professionals within AMS and APHIS.”
In a meeting with APHIS officials in Washington, D.C. in September, National Bison Association leaders suggested that the association could play a role in distributing animal identification tags in a process similar to a program that the Canadian Bison Association and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency conduct in that country. The Under Secretary is expected to talk about that concept during his remarks.
Other topics important to bison producers within USDA’s marketing and regulatory mission include:
- Price Reporting – The bison association is working with the AMS Grain and Livestock Reporting Service to improve and expand the agency’s monthly bison price report.
- Commodity Purchase Programs – AMS periodically issues a solicitation to purchase bison meat for distribution in tribal food and nutrition programs. Discussions are underway regarding how to expand that program beyond tribal reservations.
- Farmers’ Market Promotion -- The National Bison Association is completing a multi-year grant program, underwritten by the AMS Farmers’ Market Promotion Program, which has resulted in new training and marketing resources as well as the NBA’s new BuySome Bison mobile app.
- Live Animal Inspection – APHIS officials oversee the imports and exports of live bison, and coordinate with USDA sister agencies on programs related to herd health and biosecurity.
More than 400 National Bison Association members and guests are scheduled to gather at the Renaissance Hotel at 3801 Quebec St. in Denver for the association’s 25th Anniversary Conference January 22-24. Those ranchers are bringing more than 100 head of live bison to the National Western Stock Show for the association’s annual Gold Trophy Show and Sale January 22-25.