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November 28, 2023
Five Rivers Cattle Feeding recently hosted a one-of-a-kind event at their Kuner Feedlot in Kersey, Colorado, staging a mock enhanced biosecurity plan event. The event was attended by Five Rivers management teams, the Colorado State and Assistant State Veterinarians, USDA APHIS Veterinary Services, state extension veterinarians, the Beef Alliance, third party contractors, and Beef Northwest. The goal of the event was to implement and observe enhanced biosecurity practices developed as a part of the Secure Beef Supply initiative.
On the day of the event, just driving through the gates made it obvious something was different. Cones and caution tape delineated “clean” and “dirty” areas, and a large banner out front advertised “A Mock Biosecurity Event is Being Held Here Today." Signage on the feedyard clearly directed attendees to the cafeteria where red lines clearly showed a traffic flow.
The morning started off with an explanation of why the event was being conducted and what producers need to do if an outbreak of a foreign animal disease, such as foot-and-mouth disease, were to occur. Issac Hardee, DVM, with Five Rivers Cattle Feeding clearly outlined the signs of Foot and Mouth Disease and how contagious it can be. Emily Davis, a third-party contractor specializing in developing Secure Beef Supply biosecurity plans, explained what can be done to keep businesses safe and functional in the case foot-and-mouth disease lands on U.S. soil.
There was a Q&A session amongst the feedyard management teams and the state veterinarians talking about worst case scenarios and how developing a plan now can ensure your business stays open.
“In the case of an outbreak, we will not have time to approve plans and work on developing biosecurity plans, the best way to make sure you are safeguarded in the case of an outbreak, is to work on that plan now and hope you never have to use it,” says the Colorado State Veterinarian. Examples were examined in African Swine Fever and High Path Avian Influenza, and how those impacted industries have developed, and unfortunately had to use, their enhanced biosecurity plans.
“I want to applaud Five Rivers Kuner Feedlot on not only developing their plan, but putting in the time to create a mock event and let their team members see the plans in action. That creates buy-in that will be incredibly valuable if the time comes,” says Dr. Don Beckett with USDA APHIS Veterinary Services.
The event concluded with a guided tour of Kuner Feedlot, explaining lines of separation, how grain shipments and even cattle trucks can continue movement in modified patterns if a foot-and-mouth disease event occurs in the United States.
“It was great for our team to see what these plans look like in action, and I am very proud to say we hosted the first one of its kind at Five Rivers Cattle Feeding,” says Josh Szasz, DVM, PhD, Five Rivers Cattle Feeding.
Learn more about the Secure Beef Supply Initiative here.
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