(Jamie) Welcome to Farm Factor! Let’s join Kyle and Darren Williams as they discuss animal disease control.
(Kyle) Hi this is Kyle Bauer. Have the opportunity to visit with Daren Williams. He’s with National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, Communications Division. We want to talk about animal disease control because I’m not sure a lot of the listeners understand that there’s a lot of people in the industry and in government that are working toward the control of the outbreak of diseases and what would happen if that were to occur. Can you help us a bit? (Daren) Yea, absolutely. It is probably the most significant issue that our industry faces is the potential for something like a Foot-and-Mouth disease or other foreign animal disease to come to the United States. We haven’t had Foot-and-Mouth disease since 1929. But with the way people travel around the globe these days and we see stories about things like Ebola and now the Zika virus and the ability to travel, it’s something that we really need to be prepared for to protect the industry, to protect farmers and ranchers in Kansas and around the country in the event of an outbreak like that. So, we do a lot of planning around that effort. (Kyle) I think the term that we hear a lot is working group. Can you help us understand who all would be in a working group for this sort of a project? (Daren) Sure, let’s take Foot-and-Mouth disease, we have a group called the Cross Species Working Group. Foot-and-Mouth disease, Cross Species Working Group, and that’s cloven hoofed animals. So, it’s beef, pork, dairy and the sheep industry that collaborates on that. And then of course, the government, the Federal Government and state governments play a critical role in responding to a foreign animal disease outbreak with things like stopping movement and what are you going to do to stop the spread of the disease? So, it’s a collaboration between those commodity organizations that are heavily involved and have the most at stake as well as those government entities. (Kyle) And a lot of us we take for granted the movement of cattle and hogs and sheep regularly on our highways but when this sort of thing breaks out, it’s a major problem. (Daren) Absolutely. The way we produce beef and pork and dairy products in this country today, there’s a lot of interstate movement. And we take that for granted in the United States that we can move freely across these borders, but when it comes to protecting animal health and stopping the spread of the disease, because there’s a very significant economic impact, potential economic impact with the spread of the disease, you’ve got to stop movement of animals. If you have a processing facility in Oklahoma and you’ve got the ranch in Kansas or the feedyard and you’ve moving those cattle across those state borders, there’s potential to spread the disease. (Kyle) And truly if it’s the middle of July and you’ve got live animals on a truck you can’t park ’em along side the road and discuss it for a day or so. (Daren) That’s right. These decisions have to be made fast. And to protect both the animals health as well as the people that have the economic investment in those animals. That’s why it’s so important to do the planning now. One thing from a communication standpoint that I think is critical that we try to get the message out is that Foot-and-Mouth disease is a serious animal health issue, but it’s not a human health issue. Your meat and milk is safe. We certainly don’t want consumers saying we’re not going to go to the grocery store and buy beef because of Foot-and-Mouth disease. So, there’s a communications as well as an operational response plan in place. (Kyle) It’s Daren Williams with National Cattlemen’s Beef. This is Kyle Bauer reporting. Back to you Jamie.
(Jamie) Folks, stay with us – Kyle will be back with Dr. Justin Smith with the Kansas Department of Ag.