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ASI, Iowa State center to develop secure sheep, wool plan

Secure Sheep & Wool Supply Plan will focus on business continuity in event of foot and mouth disease outbreak.

The American Sheep Industry Assn. (ASI) has initiated a project to develop a "Secure Sheep & Wool Supply Plan for Business Continuity in a Foreign Animal Disease Outbreak" and is working with the Center for Food Security & Public Health (CFSPH) at the Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine to develop this plan, ASI announced in its weekly newsletter.

ASI said the sheep industry is a diverse industry producing meat, milk and wool products under a variety of management and environmental conditions. The Secure Sheep & Wool Supply Plan will focus on business continuity in the event of a foot and mouth disease (FMD) outbreak. FMD is the most highly contagious disease of livestock and affects domestic cloven-hoofed animals (such as cattle, swine, sheep and goats) and many wild animals (e.g., deer, bison, pronghorn antelope and feral swine).

ASI president Benny Cox of Texas said the industry "looks forward to working on this important project" with CFSPH. "I'm pleased that the sheep industry's volunteer leaders have joined with stakeholder and review groups to provide valuable input in this process. ASI is funding the project because it is important for livestock industries to address emergency situations — such as a disease outbreak — before the need arises."

CFSPH has substantial experience in developing secure supply plans for livestock industries, ASI noted, adding that the center was instrumental in the development of the Secure Beef, Secure Pork, Secure Milk and Secure Poultry supply plans. The poultry, beef, milk and pork industries have worked collaboratively with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, state animal officials and academia to develop business continuity plans for their industries.

ASI said the Secure Sheep & Wool Supply Plan will be consistent with USDA's FMD response goals and other secure food supply plans to maintain business continuity for sheep and wool producers (whose animals are not infected with FMD) and processors and to provide a safe, continuous supply of lamb, mutton and wool for consumers.

ASI and CFSPH are in the process of establishing a working group involving representatives of all phases of the sheep and wool industries, disease and sheep production experts as well as federal, state and tribal officials.

More information on current secure food supply plans for other livestock sectors can be found at www.cfsph.iastate.edu/Secure-Food-Supply/index.php and at www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/ourfocus/animalhealth/sa_emergency_management/ct_fadprep_continuity_of_business.

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