United States Department Of Agriculture Certification
Voluntary Scrapie Free Certification Program
Is the USDA overlooking the small farmer?
Lone Star Farm | Barbados Blackbelly Sheep
We would like to announce the end of our participation in the Voluntary Scrapie Free Certification Program that we have been involved in, since the year 2005, through the United States Department of Agriculture. On October 13, 2010, we became Certified after five years of participation in the program. In October of 2013, the USDA eliminated the program we were in at that time. I guess it goes to say that you can work yourself right out of a job because if you do it well enough it is no longer needed. The USDA is no longer concerned about the spread of the disease on the small farms of America, they are now concentrating their efforts on the sheep farms that are exporting to other countries. We were invited to join that program, but since they upped the ante on the requirements, we can no longer financially afford to stay in the program, nor can we afford to sacrifice thirty animals so their brains can be studied in a laboratory rather than relying on the DNA testing that we have done in the past. We pledge to continue our practice of DNA testing all of our animals for scrapie disease resistance in the future, with or without the USDA, because it is extremely important to us as breeders to know where we stand with our sheep genetically. We will also continue to maintain a closed flock so that there will never be any guesswork about what the sheep may have been exposed to when you purchase breeding stock from us.
Lone Star Farm was the only breeder of Registered Polled Barbados Blackbelly Sheep in the United States that was Certified.
We would like to thank Dr. Lubomira Soroko, D.V.M., with APHIS Veterinary Services for her time spent traveling such a long distance to our farm for inspections, for her astute observations and advice, her incredible attention to detail and for her friendship. Thank you to Mary Ann Ogg, AHT, with the United States Department of Agriculture, for the accuracy and reliability of her evaluations and reports, and for many enjoyable hours sitting around our kitchen table discussing livestock in general. We would also like to thank Dr. Joe C. Garrett, D.V.M., with the United States Department of Agriculture in the Austin, Texas office, for his patience in answering our questions and for his guidance through the regulations during our years in the program.
Mike and Becky Lannon Lone Star Farm