Warnick bill strengthens livestock identification program

The Washington State Legislature has approved a proposal by state Sen. Judy Warnick, R-Moses Lake, aimed at strengthening the state’s livestock identification program.

Senate Bill 5959, approved with strong bipartisan support, now heads to the governor for his signature.

“This is an invaluable program to the protection of the livestock industry in our state,” said Warnick. “The needs were outpacing the capacity and the program was facing some serious financial challenges, but this stakeholder-led proposal will help the program’s long-term viability. The bill will modernize our system and create more accountability.”

The legislation includes provisions to increase membership of the Livestock Identification Advisory Committee from six to 12 members through July 1, 2023. It would also expand the use of the electronic cattle transaction reporting system to all cattle and allows additional reporting of livestock moving out of the state.

In an effort to professionalize the program, Warnick’s bill would create a certification requirement for individuals who are interested in performing livestock inspections run by the state Department of Agriculture. Livestock inspectors would be trained in the reading of printed brands, microchip and other electronic identification tools, and processing official documentation.

“We could not have made this happen without a lot of hard work from livestock industry stakeholders involved,” Warnick said. “I’d especially like to thank Rep. Tom Dent for his invaluable insights to make sure this program is sustainable and fair.”