Farm Progress

Illinois State Fair Advisory Board proposes drug testing changes

Based on suggestions from the Livestock Working Group and extensive research, the ISF Advisory Board recommends eight drug testing changes to the Illinois Department of Agriculture.

Holly Spangler, Prairie Farmer Senior Editor

December 20, 2016

3 Min Read
BETTER? The Livestock Working Group presented extensive recommendations to the Illinois State Fair Advisory Board, including a move that would allow FDA-approved compounds at slaughter.

Editor's note: This is the second in a series of stories about the drug testing procedures at the Illinois State Fair. Part 1 covered Adam Miller’s experience as a nearly disqualified champion.

The Illinois State Fair Advisory Board met last week to discuss the 2016 Illinois State Fair. During the meeting, Mike Martz, Illinois Beef Association president, presented the recommendations of the Illinois State Fair Livestock Working Group, which was formed this past fall.

The LWG has collected data and information from surrounding state fairs, veterinarians and industry experts from across the country. The group used that information to formulate an eight-point set of recommendations. According to Martz, chairman of the LWG, Allen Entwistle made a motion and John Slayton seconded the motion calling for someone from the Illinois Department of Agriculture to work with the LWG to follow up on the drug testing issue and the LWG recommendations.

The motion was passed unanimously by the advisory board, which does not have final authority in making decisions regarding the state fair; that authority rests with the IDOA.

According to Becky Clark, IDOA communications manager, “The director appreciates the work that went into forming the Livestock Working Group’s recommendations, and will thoroughly review them. He is always willing to listen to or consider ideas that may positively impact the department or enhance its processes.”

Paul Walker, LWG member and professor emeritus at Illinois State University, says the LWG has been asked to rewrite the rules for the state fair premium book. “We will submit those to the Department of Ag, and hopefully in consultation with IDOA, we will have a new set of rules, either for 2017 or 2018,” Walker says. March is the hard deadline for printing premium books.

The LWG recommendations are:

1. The Illinois State Fair should have a zero tolerance for animals testing positive for illegal drugs such as clenbuterol, diethylstilbesterol, chloramphenicol, etc. The Illinois State Fair should work with the livestock industry to develop a public listing of these illegal drugs and regularly update that listing.

2. The Illinois State Fair should allow approved compounds to be present in tissue tests provided they exist below tolerance levels established by the Food and Drug Administration at the time of slaughter.

3. The Illinois State Fair should allow for the tissue presence of compounds administered off-label under veterinarian guidance in consultation with FARAD [Food Animal Residue Avoidance Databank] and AMDUCA [Animal Medicinal Drug Use Clarification Act] protocols. Withdrawal time prior to slaughter must still be met for these off-label compounds.

4. All market animals showing at the Illinois State Fair should be market-ready at the time of slaughter, having met withdrawal guidelines on any compounds used following label directions or extra-label following extended guidelines directed by a veterinarian.

5. Carcasses deemed violative and not eligible to enter the food supply because of an illegal drug should result in a disqualification of that exhibitor.

6. A market-animal exhibitor following on-label or veterinarian guidance for an approved compound, yet whose project animal still results in a violative carcass not cleared to enter the food supply, should not be punished equally as if the carcass tested positive for an illegal drug.

7. Breeding animals should be subject to different policies than market animals regarding pharmaceutical use.

8. The recommendations listed above should be written into the Illinois State Fair Premium Book in consultation with Illinois’ livestock industry.

The recommendations were presented by the LWG and supported by the Illinois Beef Association, Illinois Pork Producers Association, Illinois Lamb and Wool Producers, Illinois Angus Association, Illinois Simmental Association, and the Land of Lincoln Purebred Livestock Breeders Association.

Illinois Livestock Working Group

Mike Martz, chairman
Dr. Jay Miller, DVM
Dr. Buzz Iliff, DVM
Dr. Dan Shike, Ph.D.
Dr. Paul Walker, Ph.D.
Elton Mau
Joni Bucher
Brett Beyers
Lyle Dorjahn
Ryan Schlipf

The group has sought additional expertise from Dr. Dustin Boler, Ph.D., University of Illinois, and Dr. Mike Apley, DVM, Ph.D., Kansas State University. 


About the Author(s)

Holly Spangler

Prairie Farmer Senior Editor, Farm Progress

Holly Spangler has covered Illinois agriculture for more than two decades, bringing meaningful production agriculture experience to the magazine’s coverage. She currently serves as editor of Prairie Farmer magazine and Executive Editor for Farm Progress, managing editorial staff at six magazines throughout the eastern Corn Belt. She began her career with Prairie Farmer just before graduating from the University of Illinois in agricultural communications.

An award-winning writer and photographer, Holly is past president of the American Agricultural Editors Association. In 2015, she became only the 10th U.S. agricultural journalist to earn the Writer of Merit designation and is a five-time winner of the top writing award for editorial opinion in U.S. agriculture. She was named an AAEA Master Writer in 2005. In 2011, Holly was one of 10 recipients worldwide to receive the IFAJ-Alltech Young Leaders in Ag Journalism award. She currently serves on the Illinois Fairgrounds Foundation, the U of I Agricultural Communications Advisory committee, and is an advisory board member for the U of I College of ACES Research Station at Monmouth. Her work in agricultural media has been recognized by the Illinois Soybean Association, Illinois Corn, Illinois Council on Agricultural Education and MidAmerica Croplife Association.

Holly and her husband, John, farm in western Illinois where they raise corn, soybeans and beef cattle on 2,500 acres. Their operation includes 125 head of commercial cows in a cow/calf operation. The family farm includes John’s parents and their three children.

Holly frequently speaks to a variety of groups and organizations, sharing the heart, soul and science of agriculture. She and her husband are active in state and local farm organizations. They serve with their local 4-H and FFA programs, their school district, and are active in their church's youth and music ministries.

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