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K-State Today

December 7, 2016

National Agricultural Biosecurity Center awarded more than $331K to develop Department of Homeland Security National Livestock Readiness Program

Submitted by Sarah Hancock

The National Agricultural Biosecurity Center has received $331,118 from the Department of Homeland Security through its Basic Ordering Agreement with K-State to develop the National Livestock Readiness Program.

The project, with its initial deliverables completed by September 2017, will provide a clearinghouse for planning, training and knowledge products to help state, local, tribal and territorial entities prepare for transboundary livestock disease outbreaks.

According to Ken Burton, program director at the National Agricultural Biosecurity Center, a central repository of resources to support state and local animal health emergency management is currently lacking.

"There's good information at the federal level that many states utilize, but there are additional tools and information available which entities can use to do planning, training, and education, but are difficult to locate," Burton said.

In addition to a library of materials and links to available resources, the National Livestock Readiness Program website will offer a chat capability to allow users to ask questions about where to find information. The center's staff and partners will answer inquiries within 24 hours.

The program also entails extensive collaboration of academia, private industry and state governments. Faculty and staff in the Beef Cattle Institute and the College of Veterinary Medicine will provide subject matter expertise and assistance building the website, and student workers will be employed to assist with the project. The center is collaborating with the Kansas Department of Agriculture to build relationships with other state departments of agriculture to ensure adoption of best emergency planning and management practices. The center also has a subcontract with an individual company to develop a curriculum to teach techniques for writing and evaluating transboundary animal disease response plans.

Burton has been pleased to see K-State taking a leading role in raising the profile of biosecurity concerns.

"We're excited to offer a vital resource to enhance biosecurity plans around the country. K-State has a wealth of knowledge to offer in this area, and protecting our global food systems is a central concern as we work to support our growing population's needs," he said.