The U.S. food animal industry has changed significantly in size, structure, efficiency and extent of movement since the last U.S. outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) in 1929. The concentrated and closely-coupled network structure of modern animal agriculture leads to increased potential for a catastrophic outbreak if FMD were identified in the United States. Government animal health authorities are not solely responsible for prevention and preparedness.

The National Institute for Animal Agriculture coordinated the symposium, “Fostering a New Preparedness Paradigm: Facilitating a Conversation Among Public and Private Sector Stakeholders”, to enhance preparedness for FMD across food animal production sectors by bringing together industry stakeholders representing the entire supply chain as well as regulatory agency stakeholders, academicians and policymakers. By engaging this broad range of stakeholders, the symposium facilitated the exchange of information and identification of next steps that can help foster scientific innovation, industry engagement and consumer confidence.

On a post-symposium survey, 80 percent (of 45) participants indicated the symposium was good or excellent. Eight-six percent (of 44) indicated they were moderately or very likely to attend a future symposium. At the close of the symposium participants were asked to list what actions they intended to take related to FMD preparedness after returning home. A year later a survey collected data on what actions have actually taken place. The responses are categorized by type of participant and reflect many ongoing activities as well as heightened interest in building public-private sector relationships.

Producers or Producer Organization personnel have:

  • Identified strategic partners and work with to be prepared for an FMD outbreak.
  • Helped foster and participated in FMD preparedness meetings involving commodity groups, government officials and processors.
  • Developed or implemented Secure Food Supply plans.
  • Developed and distributed producer-focused education so producers know how to identify FMD and are familiar with the country’s FMD preparedness and response plan.
  • Implemented a comprehensive traceability system.
  • Implemented and encouraged participation in biosecurity and disease surveillance programs.
  • Interacted with county emergency management group to discuss FMD response plan strategies and their responsibilities should an outbreak occur.
  • Encouraged state and county to have an agro-disaster plan in place.

Trade Media and Industry Public Relations personnel have:

  • Shared consumer messaging with other animal agriculture groups and emergency management groups.
  • Distributed FMD Symposium White Paper to stakeholders.

Practicing Veterinarians and Extension Veterinarians have:

  • Clarified roles in FMD preparedness and response—from USDA to states to producers and allied stakeholders.
  • Supported Secure Milk Supply planning.
  • Conducted research on FMD modeling.
  • Supported Security Pork Supply planning.

State Veterinarians and Animal Health and Regulatory Personnel have:

  • Worked to improve speed of information retrieval and improve quality of Certificates of Veterinary Inspection.
  • Updated state readiness.
  • Communicated with and educate stakeholders—producers, state agencies, etc.—about FMD, biosecurity protocols, country’s preparedness and response plan and their role should an outbreak occur in their area.
  • Enhanced Incident Command System (ICS) training.
  • Interacted with state and industry public information officers to familiarize them with you/your information sources.
  • Underscored importance of collaboration and trust among all sectors.
  • Participated in multi-state tabletop exercises.
  • Supported data management experts and tools to improve permitting process.
  • Worked on Secure Milk Supply plan.
  • Promoted Secure Food Supply plans.
  • Supported and assisted emergency planning staff with planning and exercises.
  • Helped coordinate state agencies, law enforcement and first responders.
  • Engaged state highway officers in discussions with State Animal Health Officials and staff regarding the realities for a stop movement situation.
  • Conducted biosecurity audits and stress importance of keeping excellent records.
  • Developed permitting movement system.
  • Created messages in preparation for an FMD outbreak.
  • Distributed FMD Symposium White Paper.
  • Encouraged producer groups to approach packers about solutions to vaccination policy and trade issues.

Diagnosticians and Government Personnel have:

  • Improved data sharing information technology systems and policy.
  • Addressed policy regarding using foreign animal disease diagnostics in National Animal Health Laboratory Network.
  • Determined surge capacity of laboratory and plan for an emergency.
  • Encouraged and enabled stakeholder meetings to exchange ideas regarding how to best move forward.
  • Determined the needs of state officials.
  • Finalized stop movement and permitted movement protocols within state and at state borders.

Who responded?

  • Six livestock producers or producer organization representatives.
  • Five trade media or industry PR personnel.
  • Five practicing or Extension veterinarians.
  • Twenty one state public health, animal health, or regulatory personnel.
  • Five diagnostic laboratory or government personnel.

What issues were ranked highest priority for inclusion in a future symposium?

                #1 Vaccination policy

                #1 Movement permitting policy

                #2 Consumer/producer/trade communications