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“Plans Are Good, Planning Is Better”

Iowa Department of Agriculture officials believe, “Plans are good, planning is better,” especially when it comes to preparing for a potential African Swine Fever outbreak.

Federal, state and local officials participated in a four-day, multi-state exercise last week to further their capacity to effectively respond to and mitigate an African Swine Fever (ASF) outbreak. Iowa Department of Agriculture Secretary Mike Naig and State Veterinarian Dr. Jeff Kaisand speak to last week’s effort.

Animal industry stakeholders united last week to run through various Foreign Animal Disease (FAD) outbreak scenarios. Participants fervently worked through response protocols spanning disease investigations, a confirmed outbreak, depopulation and disposal, control zones and permitting processes.

Iowa Department of Agriculture Secretary Mike Naig says he was pleased with the exercise, and looks forward to addressing items, which require further attention.

“(We) worked through the plans in place, or things we need to address in a foreign animal disease, specifically African Swine Fever. The point was to play through an exercise,” Naig said. “We had a lot of unknowns. It pushed our team to react to those challenges. The point is to test plans, figure out if there are gaps or policy questions needing to be addressed, or even research that needs to be done.”

Dr. Jeff Kaisand, State Veterinarian, believes Iowa, the leading swine producing state, is prepared to address a foreign animal disease outbreak, such as African Swine Fever. He admits, however, further steps need to be taken to ensure producers are fully prepared.

“The more people that begin to understand how a foreign animal disease outbreak may go, the more that understand what they need to do to prepare in the field,” Dr. Kaisand said. “There are a lot of people that think the government’s going to be there to take over and handle it, and that’s not the case. Everybody truly needs to understand how it may go and what role they play in it because everybody has a role in this, including the producer.”

This article originally appeared on the Iowa Agribusiness Radio Network

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