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University of California biosecurity farm.jpg University of California-Davis

Western states work on FAD preparedness plans

University of California-Davis institute awarded grant to develop collaborative partnership to increase FAD awareness on dairy and poultry operations.

Historically, animal health officials in the western U.S. responding to invasive foreign animal diseases (FAD) such as highly pathogenic avian influenza and virulent Newcastle disease have reported that disease control efforts are significantly hampered by industry’s lack of preparation, according to the Western Institute for Food Safety & Security (WIFSS) at the University of California-Davis.

Specifically, WIFSS said animal and poultry rearing and processing operations cannot support regulatory goals because they simply can’t implement enhanced biosecurity plans quickly and cooperate in monitoring and reporting programs.

To help address this problem, WIFSS has been awarded a $560,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Animal Disease Preparedness & Response Program (NADPRP) to develop a collaborative partnership among the university, federal agencies, state agencies and animal agriculture industry to increase preparedness on dairy farms and poultry raising facilities.

The collaborative partnership will include state regulatory and industry representatives from California, Oregon and Arizona and will be conducted under the leadership of primary investigator Bennie Osburn and Michael Payne. The instructional design staff and faculty at WIFSS will also coordinate the multidisciplinary partnerships from both the dairy and poultry industries to work collaboratively on the development of enhanced biosecurity plans that can be implemented in response to catastrophic outbreaks of foreign animal diseases, the announcement said.

The project will demonstrate that a combination of novel online tools and in-person training can effectively empower industry representatives to assist poultry and dairy producers in making FAD preparations, particularly completion of Secure Food Supply response plans, WIFSS said. Co-training of state, federal, academic and industry stakeholders will build alliances and allow industry representatives to act as a “force multiplier,” dramatically improving industry preparedness and amplifying regulatory response, the announcement noted.

State animal health officials from Oregon and Arizona will participate in development of virtual and in-person training tools and evaluate the tools' suitability for application in their home states.

This project is designed around three objectives:

1. Complete a comprehensive needs assessment. WIFSS staff will develop a survey to ascertain perceived regulatory/industry FAD response knowledge gaps and training needs. The survey will distribute the survey widely through regulatory, industry, academic and veterinary communities in the western states, comparing the results with relevant "After Action Reviews" of actual FAD events. Finally, WIFSS will collect, organize and summarize existing just-in-time learning tools -- such as videos, infographics, checklists, standard operating procedures (SOPs), etc. -- for later inclusion in online and in-person training.

2. Create a novel biosecurity online learning center. Using the survey results and applying online and adult-learning theory, WIFSS will develop a single, user-friendly, interactive website guiding farmers through the construction of an enhanced biosecurity plan for a dairy or poultry facility. Existing learning resources previously identified will be included in a library of resources and cross-linked throughout the biosecurity plan builder tool. These supplemental resources will include examples of templates for completed plans, facility map construction tools, just-in-time instructional videos and templates for SOPs. Online plan building tools, a website library and a "train-the-trainer" workshop curriculum will remain an “evergreen” resource for future industry efforts, especially as they are launched in specific states.

3. Deliver demonstration day and train-the-trainer workshops. Efforts will culminate with a total of four live workshop exercises in California. Based on a previously successful pilot, dairy and poultry demonstration workshops will allow local and federal veterinary medical officers to explain to stakeholders the state’s FAD response and how the industry can partner to create enhanced biosecurity plans. Workshops conclude with live demonstrations of enhanced biosecurity plans staged at working farms. All presentations will be recorded for inclusion on the online learning center. The demonstration workshops will be followed by train-the-trainer events at which industry representatives will learn how to assist producers in creating customized enhanced biosecurity plans for their facilities.

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