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National Agricultural Biosecurity Center

Completed Projects

Identifying Corrective Actions from Agricultural Response (ICAAR)

In cooperation with the Department of Homeland Security Office of Health Affairs, NABC reviewed and evaluated After Action Reports/Improvement Plans (AAR/IP) from agriculturally based training exercises or actual events. Lessons learned allow agricultural emergency managers to review the lessons identified by NABC analysis and then incorporate those lessons into their emergency response plans. A second component of NABC efforts reviewed and evaluated AAR/IP’s looking for response gaps represented by common themes. Gaps were then cross-referenced with existing DHS training programs in the FEMA state and federal catalogues to fill training gaps. Phase three of the project involved development of the ICAAR App on the FoodShield website. ICAAR creates a searchable database for agricultural emergency response planners to use in identifying lessons learned from other agriculture related emergency exercises or disasters.

U.S. Army Natick Soldier Center

The availability, adequacy, quality, and safety of the military’s food systems are paramount and must be protected at all times. Researchers from K-State and NABC's Food Safety and Security Program collaborated with scientists at the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Center to validate specific bioagent detection protocols and assay systems to protect the food and water supplies for military troops in the field.

The initial research collaboration between Natick and NABC researchers was devoted to comparing our abilities in our respective laboratories to detect biological targets in twelve diverse food matrices. K-State principle investigators addressed four distinct research objectives: 1) validating sample preparation and bioagent detection systems of interest, 2) understanding potential bioagent distribution in defined food products during standard manufacturing operations to support effective risk assessments, 3) generating defined data on bioagents in different food matrices to enter into a predictive modeling program for select agents, and 4) developing and validating new microsphere immunoassays and pyrosequencing technologies for select agent detection and characterization. The unique large-scale BSL-3Ag food-processing capabilities of the Biosecurity Research Institute facility were central to the development of this knowledge base.

National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN) 

Homeland Security Presidential Directive 9 (HSPD-9), Defense of United States Agriculture and Food, directed a number of federal agencies to work together to develop nationwide laboratory networks for food, veterinary, and plant health and water quality that integrate existing federal and state laboratory resources, are interconnected, and use standardized diagnostic protocols and procedures. The NAHLN is a multifaceted network made up of sets of laboratories that focus on different diseases using common testing methods and software platforms to process diagnostic requests and share information.

Beginning in 2006, Kansas State University and APHIS entered into a strategic relationship involving NABC; the Kansas State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (KSVDL) in the College of Veterinary Medicine; the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services (APHIS), Veterinary Services (VS); and the National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN). The initial thrust of this relationship was to enhance and deliver an automated high-throughput diagnostic protocol to facilitate rapid and accurate examination of samples for Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI). Networking these resources provided an extensive infrastructure of facilities, equipment, and personnel that are geographically accessible no matter where disease strike. The effort proved successful and culminated in the development and delivery of a training program of instruction (POI) to facilitate the safe and effective training of veterinary laboratory personnel. K-State expanded the methodology, development, and training delivery effort so that additional NAHLN laboratory personnel could participate. Fifteen two-day tabletop Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) exercises involving multiple federal inter/intra-agency and state and local participants, including key industry stakeholders, were developed and conducted.

Department of Defense

To accomplish its mission to mitigate threats to agriculture, NABC completed projects to augment its ability to acquire, analyze, and integrate data concerning high-impact foreign animal/zoonotic infectious diseases, plant diseases, food safety/security, and environmental health factors. NABC’s analyses incorporated real-time, state-of-the-art tools for acquisition, assessment, and integration of comprehensive data. NABC developed agricultural capability country profiles using a wide variety of information inputs. The profiles also researched topic areas and specific capabilities that reflected the full range of activities a country might engage in to prevent, prepare for, respond to, and recover from high-consequence agricultural animal, crop, and foodborne disease outbreaks.

Many emerging diseases are zoonotic in origin and thus emerge from the contact between humans and wildlife, often with domestic animals involved as a vector. Local ecological transformation in the form of deforestation, urbanization, or agricultural development creates analogous environments in which humans, wildlife, and domestic animals interact with one another, creating unique opportunities for pathogens to come into contact with and adapt to new host species. Rapid host switching, particularly when humans are involved, is the essential step for novel disease emergence. NABC assisted in the investigation of an approach to both directly and indirectly assess the potential for threats to the health of humans in global areas of interest by identifying ecological transformation, estimating the potential for zoonotic disease emergence, and assessing the threat to the human population.

Kansas National Guard Agri-Business Development Teams (ADT)

Kansas National Guard soldiers learned about various aspects of agriculture during training prior to being deployed to Afghanistan’s Laghman Province. Their goal was to assess agriculture in Afghanistan to determine the country’s food production strengths and challenges and to lay the groundwork for helping it improve its agricultural industry. NABC along with the K-State College of Veterinary Medicine and the College of Agriculture collaborated to build a curriculum for the training. The project allowed the university to partner with the Kansas National Guard. The training at K-State provided presentations on wide ranging agricultural topics, from irrigation to food safety to soil composition to small grain production and harvest and post-harvest handling of crops. Livestock production, pest management, and vegetable and fruit production were also part of the training. Other states used the training prior to sending similar teams to other parts of Afghanistan; this effort was coordinated by the National Guard Bureau, which is part of the Department of Defense.