Several pink pigs feeding on grain in a barn.

Taking Biosecurity from Zero to 60 Overnight

Dr. Julie SmithLivestock diseases, Planning

By moving everyday biosecurity a little closer to the enhanced end of the spectrum, we can reduce the vulnerability of our industry to new, emerging and exotic diseases while increasing the productivity of our cattle. – Julie M. Smith, DVM, PhD, University of Vermont

(Feature image courtesy of the National Pork Board, Des Moines, Iowa.)

In an April 2023 article published in Progressive Dairy a question was asked, “what do speed tests have to do with biosecurity?” Julie Smith, veterinarian and research associate professor at the University of Vermont, considers what it means for a farm to go from “zero to 60” quickly in response to an emergency animal disease outbreak in livestock and poultry.

This is a good question for producers to ponder; although a foreign animal disease (FAD) like African swine fever has not been found in the United States, the Caribbean countries of Haiti and the Dominican Republic have experienced outbreaks of this devastating swine disease. The distance between these countries and the southern tip of Florida is equivalent to traveling from New York City to Chicago: so, not that far away.

Smith’s experience over the past 20 years in raising awareness about FADs has given her valuable insights about the perception of risk, the range of attitudes about disease prevention and containment on farms, and preparing for the worst.

Click this link to read the full article (PDF) about the importance of preparedness before a farm animal disease emergency happens.

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About the Author

Dr. Julie Smith

Dr. Julie Smith is a research professor at the University of Vermont. Julie received her B.S. in biological sciences, D.V.M., and Ph.D. in animal nutrition at Cornell University. Since 2002, she has applied her veterinary background to programs in the areas of herd health, calf and heifer management, and agricultural emergency management. She has taught courses in animal welfare, calf biology and management, and ABCs of biosecurity to undergraduates, mostly in the Department of Animal and Veterinary Sciences. As a veterinarian and spouse of a dairy farmer, Julie is well aware of the animal health and well-being concerns of dairy animals. Julie has conducted trainings for Extension educators, livestock producers, and community members on the risks posed by a range of animal diseases, whether they already exist in the United States, exist outside of the United States, or pose a risk to both animal and human health. In all cases, she emphasizes the importance of awareness and prevention. In addition, she has led a number of projects on biosecurity and emergency disease preparedness.