The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is providing more than $180,000 in Farm Bill funding to support the American Sheep Industry Association to expand awareness with sheep and wool producers, as well as those that work with and support them – associations, extension, veterinarians, transporters and regulatory officials – about foot-and-mouth disease preparedness and the resources in the Secure Sheep and Wool Supply Plan.
Producers who have a deeper understanding on how to prepare for and respond to an FMD outbreak will be better positioned to protect their flock and maintain business continuity. This makes for a more resilient American sheep industry, which benefits producers, states and consumers. The project is expected to take two years to complete.
The grant will build capacity for broad outreach and education through multiple virtual train- the-trainer programs for sheep association leadership, extension specialists and veterinarians. The training program will include support for advanced trainers to deliver outreach direct to sheep producers in their states or regions. On-farm demonstrations throughout the United States with expert support has been success- ful in other livestock industries for teaching enhanced biosecurity and contingency planning principles.
Attendees at the 2024 ASI An- nual Convention in Colorado will have the opportunity to see first- hand implementation of the SSWS Plan on a sheep feedlot and in a sheep processing plant through an in person/on-site tour. Participants will hear about lessons learned from these operations, which may be applied at their own premises. Increasing the number of people who have the training, networking and resources to provide outreach about FMD preparedness and the SSWS Plan is critical for the Ameri- can sheep industry.
“Consistent access to safe, healthy and affordable food is a critical need for all consumers,” said USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Jenny Lester Moffitt. “These Farm Bill-funded preparation activities are vital to helping us safeguard U.S. animal health, which in turn allows U.S. producers to continue to feed our country and the world.”
The information developed from the grant will improve the SSWS Plan resources for sheep producers and stakeholders. ASI and USDA provided funding to develop the SSWS Plan and associated resources for producers.
ASI looks forward to collaborating on this project with industry stakeholders and Dr. Danelle Bickett-Weddle, a consultant with Preventalytics. ASI provides unique resources for sheep pro- ducers to prepare for, respond to and enhance their resiliency for an FMD event.