Program and Funding for Johne's Disease TestingTO: Utah Dairy and Beef Producers
FROM: Utah Johne's Disease Advisory Committee
DATE: May 23, 2001
Johne's Disease (pronounced 'YO-knees'), a very costly disease of the intestinal tract and associated lymph nodes, is found in some herds in the intermountain west and across the country. There is much concern in our industry of the real hazard of many herds becoming infected in the next few years because cattle are being moved more widely than ever before, both domestically and internationally. The result of this movement of cattle could be the wide-spread introduction of this disease into many herds now, that would not be apparent for several years.
The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food (UDAF) has formed a state Johne's Disease Advisory Committee comprised of representatives of dairy and beef producers, veterinarians, USU Extension, and officials of the Department to study this issue and become pro-active in combating the disease. This committee has prepared a program wherein a producer can participate to either rid his herd of JD or protect himself from acquiring the disease through his normal production activity. In the last legislative session, the legislature appropriated some funding which will pay the laboratory costs for a producer to test 30 animals in his herd to determine the herd status. A national eradication program is also being considered this year in Congress, but likely will not be acted upon until late this year.
As producers in Utah, we have an opportunity to protect our livestock against Johne's Disease by participating in this testing program. Along with this letter is a description of the disease, how it spreads, how producers can find it and the best management practices to protect your operation against getting the disease. Farm income can certainly be enhanced when you are able to market your livestock or dairy cattle with a Johne's Free assurance to the purchaser, as well as the fact that you can be better protected in the cattle that you purchase for your own herd.
Another reason for much concern is due to public perception, by at least some individuals and groups, that Johne's Disease is related to or may cause Crohn's Disease in humans.
It is our goal to continue to assure the public of a wholesome food supply and to assure the dairy and livestock producers in Utah a healthy and viable business in the future. The Johne's Disease Program is integrated with the Utah Cattle Health Assurance Program offered by the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food. The UCHAP program provides an opportunity for producers to pursue an integrated herd management approach to the detection, control, and eradication of diseases within the herd. The result is a healthier, more productive herd and a safer food supply.