by Woody Larson
Our May issue traditionally focuses on Animal Health. There was a time when Florida calves were discriminated against because of a lack of health and immunity. A collective effort by UF Extension, state and private veterinarians, publications like this one and most importantly cattle producers have greatly improved Florida cattle health. Protecting our states' cowherd and dealing with health issues was one of the reasons the Florida Cattlemen's Association was formed. As you know in each issue we have a least one article dealing with animal health.
Like any biological species, cattle health challenges are always changing. Old diseases can mutate, new diseases can emerge or arrive in the US. Your herd health program should be reviewed annually and revised as needed. Animal health products also change. It is amazing to me how much better the products are now than just a few years ago. Better vaccines, anti-microbials and parasite products make modern herd health programs more effective. This all adds up to more value for our calves.
I would urge you to attend the Beef Cattle Short Course May 8-10 in Gainesville. The program is filled with good speakers and topics. The University of Florida has been a vital part of cattle and animal health improvement. Another source of information is our vendors. Our suppliers of animal health products have great resource people dealing with pharmaceuticals, feed additives, and health products. They also have been loyal sponsors to many events including our annual convention.
Speaking of convention, Marco Island is just six weeks away. It's time to register if you have not done so. We are asking all our counties to participate in the Silent Auction by bringing an item or two. Emily Hobby is in charge of this event and does a great job. You may contact Emily at 352-427-4247. The proceeds benefit our Foundation, which in turn benefits our future. Your Cattlemen's Foundation has been doing a great job. If you don't have a copy of the latest book, Five Centuries of Cattle Ranching you should get one. It chronicles our museum exhibit now at the State Fairgrounds. This book is a must have for Florida cattle folks. You can order it from our web site. There is a special discount for a box of 25 for fundraising or gifts.
Cattle movement is vital to our industry and the occurrence of a disease outbreak could shut down our national beef market. The need for a reliable traceability program founded on a national animal identification system is very real. Yes, it will take some extra effort but the risk of doing nothing is simply too great. There will be more information coming as our state officials work on traceability rules. I know they are striving to make it as practical as possible. All for now. I'll see you at the Short Course.