Rosslyn Biggs, DVM, OSU Extension State Beef Cattle Veterinarian
One of the greatest threats to United States’ agriculture is the potential introduction of foot and mouth disease (FMD). FMD is a highly contagious viral disease found in multiple countries around the world. Symptoms of FMD include a fever and blister like lesions on the mouth, udder and feet of cloven hooved animals. FMD occurs in both domestic livestock and wildlife.
Managed movement of livestock through permitting during an FMD outbreak would be essential in maintaining commerce activities and preserving animal welfare. The Secure Beef Supply Plan, a project funded by the USDA, focuses on these types of movement by encouraging individual producers to develop continuity of business plans now.
Producer participation in the Secure Beef Supply is voluntary. Cattle operations that choose to participate in the Secure Beef Supply Plan will be better prepared to request a movement permit once movement is allowed in an outbreak and may see benefits of reducing other disease outbreaks.
In a recent biosecurity survey by Oklahoma State University researchers, only 15.43% of Oklahoma cow-calf producers knew the recommendations of the Secure Beef Supply and had started any level of implementation on their operation.
To begin participation in the Secure Beef Supply Plan, producers should request a premise identification number from their state animal health official. In Oklahoma premises numbers can be requested through the State Veterinarian’s office.
Next producers should develop an enhanced biosecurity plan. Initially, a biosecurity manager should be identified. The biosecurity manager should work closely with the operation’s veterinarian to create a written operation-specific biosecurity plan.
This plan builds on the operation’s current biosecurity practices and elevates those measures specifically to prevent the introduction of FMD to the premises. A Secure Beef Supply biosecurity plan includes the identification of items such as lines of separation and personnel training specific to FMD.
Another part of the plan involves preparing operation personnel to monitor cattle and other susceptible species for signs of FMD. Additionally, records must be maintained for all movement on and off the operation of animals, germplasm, people and equipment. The contingency plan also addresses how the operation will continue to function during periods of restricted movement.
The Secure Beef Supply Plan offers extensive resources including training and templates to assist producers in preparing for a potential FMD outbreak at www.securebeef.org