Ticks – What Are They? How They Can Affect Your Livestock, and How to Effectively Manage Them

The National Cattlemen's Beef Association and U.S. Department of Agriculture hosted a two-day virtual symposium, August 23rd and 24th, on ticks. The program focused on the Asian Longhorned Tick (ALT) and its potential impact on the U.S. cattle industry.

This webinar was for cattle producers, state animal health officials, veterinarians, and other industry stakeholders interested in learning how to identify the ALT and better manage its associated diseases and spread.

The ALT is an invasive, exotic tick first identified in the United States in 2017. The ALT is established in many countries in eastern Asia and has been introduced into Australia, New Zealand, and the western Pacific islands. The tick prefers habitats with tall grasses and woods but is highly mobile, attaching to more than 25 known hosts in the U.S., including birds and humans. This webinar will discuss tick identification and current research at USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) as well as special attention to the emerging diseases carried by ticks and their treatment options. A panel of state animal health officials from states currently affected by the ALT will provide information on mitigation measures taking place in their states and answer questions. Sign up for this webinar today to learn more about ticks and especially more about the ALT and the diseases it may carry to cattle and to humans.

If you have questions about this educational event, please contact NCBA’s Center for Public Policy.

Dr. Kathy Simmons
Chief Veterinarian
[email protected]

Chase DeCoite
Director of Animal Health and Food Safety Policy
[email protected]


Once you have registered, you will receive a confirmation email from our GoToWebinar platform with a link and calendar invite. 

Meet the speakers

Avery Strait

Avery started out in Wyoming as an USDA-APHIS Veterinary Services Field Veterinary Medical Officer and then the acting Wyoming Field Epidemiologist. She is currently a National Cattle Health Epidemiologist and focuses on Brucellosis and TB. 

Carrie Bissett

Carolynn currently serves as the Program Manager of the Office of Veterinary Services at the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. As Program Manager, Carrie manages livestock and poultry animal health and disease response for the state of Virginia, as well as animal welfare oversight. She has been with the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services for 10 years. Prior to joining state regulatory government, she spent nine years in private practice. In addition to a earning a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine, she has a master’s degree in public health from the University of Iowa and is board certified with the American College of Veterinary Preventative Medicine. 

Denise Bonilla

Denise is the National Cattle Fever Tick Eradication Program Coordinator and a Veterinary Services Entomologist within USDA-APHIS’s Veterinary Services, Strategy and Policy, Ruminant Health Commodity Center - Cattle Health Group in Fort Collins, Colorado. Her background is in medical and veterinary entomology. She has worked with lice, mosquitoes, bed bugs, and specializes in ticks and tick-borne disease ecology. She has researched and written papers on Bartonellosis, Borreliosis, Babesiosis, Rickettsiosis and Anaplasmosis. She is also a Veterinary Services subject matter expert for Cattle Fever Ticks, New World Screwworm and the Asian Longhorned Tick.

Dustin Weaver

Dustin currently serves as the Deputy State Veterinarian in the Georgia Department of Agriculture. He joined the GDA in the meat inspection section in 2018 and later transitioned into the Animal Health Division. Prior to working with the GDA, Dustin worked in private practice and cattle practice for eight years. He earned his bachelor’s degree in environmental health, his veterinary degree from Colorado State University, and possesses a master’s degree in public health from the University of Colorado. Dustin is passionate about preventive medicine and was accepted into the American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine in 2018. He is a proud member of the Georgia Cattlemen’s Association and raises a small herd of Angus cattle in Morgan County.  

Kathy Simmons

Kathy is the Chief Veterinarian for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, working out of the Public Policy office in Washington, D.C. She provides leadership and guidance on matters pertaining to animal health and welfare, working predominantly with the regulatory agencies involved in animal health issues and food safety. She was awarded a doctorate in veterinary medicine from the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine in Blacksburg, Virginia. Kathy worked in private veterinary practice for more than 25 years in Virginia and West Virginia. From 2010-2011, she served in the U.S. Senate as a Congressional fellow, working in health policy for Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME).  

Kimberly H. Lohmeyer

Kimberly H. Lohmeyer is a research entomologist with the USDA-ARS Knipling-Bushland U.S. Livestock Insects Research Laboratory in Kerrville, Texas, where she is currently serving as acting laboratory director and research leader. Her research focuses on developing novel strategies to manage tick and biting fly pests of cattle and wildlife. She has a bachelor’s degree in biology from King University, a master’s degree in entomology from the University of Tennessee, and a Ph.D. in entomology from the University of Georgia.

Lindsay Fry

Lindsay, DVM, PhD, DACVP, is a Research Veterinary Medical Officer at the USDA-ARS Animal Disease Research Unit, where she leads the Theileriosis research group. She earned her doctorate of veterinary medicine at Washington State University in 2009, and subsequently worked in private veterinary practice in Utah for two years. She returned to WSU in 2011 to enter a Veterinary Anatomic Pathology Residency and Ph.D. program in Infectious Disease and Immunology, which she completed in 2016. She has worked on equine and bovine Theileriosis since she started her graduate work in 2011. 

Mark Lyons

Mark Lyons is a graduate of The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine and a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine. He first joined Veterinary Services Strategy & Policy (S&P) with the Cervid Health Team before taking on the role of Assistant Director in the Cattle Health Center, directly supporting cattle and bison health and the associated industries through programs and partnerships targeting priority disease issues. In addition to his time with S&P, Mark has also held a number of positions in regulatory medicine including time as a Research Fellow at the Plum Island Animal Disease Center, a Public Health Veterinarian with the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s Division of Meat Inspection, and an epidemiology officer with the USDA APHIS Veterinary Services office in Pickerington, Ohio. Mark completed multiple deployments for both HPAI and vND during his time with Field Operations, assisting in multiple roles including surveillance, depopulation and disposal.

Michael J. Yabsley

Michael is The Warnell School professor of Natural Resources and specializes in Wildlife Diseases at the University of Georgia where he has a spilt position between the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources and the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study (SCWDS). He has a bachelor's degree (Biological Sciences and Wildlife Sciences), a master's in zoology (Parasitology) from Clemson and a Ph.D. in Infectious Diseases from the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Georgia. Michael's interdisciplinary research program addresses both applied and theoretical questions on the epidemiology of wildlife diseases with an emphasis on pathogens that are zoonotic or important to the health of domestic animals and agriculturally important species.

Micheal Neault

After graduating from the Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine, Micheal was a private practitioner working in a mixed and small animal practices for 13 years. In 2008, he joined the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development working as the emergency programs, poultry health programs manager, and animal disease traceability manager. In 2015, he joined the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Veterinary Division as the director of Livestock Animal Health Programs. In April 2021, he joined Clemson University as the State Veterinarian and Director of the Livestock Poultry Health Department. He served two terms as the president of the National Alliance of State Animal and Agricultural Emergency Programs, and one term on the American Veterinary Medical Association's Committee on Disaster and Emergency Issues.

Nancy Hinkle

Nancy is the University of Georgia’s Veterinary Entomologist. Her research covers arthropods that parasitize or transmit disease organisms to animals, including livestock, poultry, swine, horses, companion animals and wildlife. Her lab focuses on pestiferous flies, poultry pests and various bloodsuckers – including fleas, ticks, lice, mites and mosquitoes. She received her bachelor's and master's in medical entomology from Auburn University and her Ph.D. in urban entomology from the University of Florida, working on cat fleas. She served as Veterinary Entomologist at the University of California-Riverside for 10 years before joining UGA’s Department of Entomology in 2001.

Samantha Beaty

Samantha joined the Tennessee Department of Agriculture in 2016.    Samantha completed training through USDA-PPD and is a Foreign Animal Disease Diagnostician. She served as interim lab director of the TDA Kord Animal Health Diagnostic Lab. She was appointed State Veterinarian in 2019. She has served as a volunteer veterinarian in Botswana with the Maun Animal Welfare Society where she provided preventative care and disease treatment to area animals. Samantha graduated with a Bachelor of Science in agriculture from Tennessee Tech University in 1998, then completed her degree in veterinary medicine from the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine, Class of 2001.

Steve Hopkins

Steve Hopkins is a sixth-generation cattle farmer from Louisa, Virginia, where his family has farmed since the mid-1860s. He is the owner of Riverview Farms Cattle, a commercial cow-calf operation in Louisa. Steve graduated from Virginia Tech University in 1988 and then worked for the university as an agricultural extension agent for 29 years before retiring in 2016. His wife, Crysti, also works for Virginia Tech as an extension agent. They have two sons, Blake and Garrett, that are active on the family farm. In addition to running the farm, Steve currently manages special cattle sales for Virginia Cattle Company and serves as manager for Central Virginia Cattlemen Association (CVCA) that he started in the late 90s. CVCA has more than 200 members and markets several thousand head of value-added cattle a year. The group also has numerous educational programs each year. Steve is very active in Virginia Cattlemen Association where he is a past president. He also served as the Region I vice president for NCBA and is a deacon in his local Baptist church.

Rosemary Sifford

Rosemary Sifford, Ph.D., began her career with the USDA in 1997. She has served the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) in a variety of policy, operations, and management positions throughout the agency. Rosemary most recently served as associate deputy administrator in Veterinary Services, then Animal Care, before becoming the deputy administrator of Veterinary Services in August 2021. In this capacity, Rosemary serves as the U.S. Chief Veterinary Officer and U.S. delegate to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). Rosemary received undergraduate degrees in animal science and agricultural business management, as well as her Degree of Veterinary Medicine, from North Carolina State University. Rosemary and her family raise and show Hereford and Holstein cattle nationwide.

Kevin Lahmers

Kevin Lahmers is a boarded veterinary pathologist who did his PhD on immune responses of cattle to Anaplasma marginale. For the last 9 years, he has worked at the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine where he was the first to identify the Asian Longhorned Tick in Virginia and is a leader in the investigation of the Ikeda genotype of the bovine pathogen, Theileria orientalis, in the U.S. He spends his free time trying to keep up with his wife and two kids.