Smith Projects Aim to Secure the Animal-Based Food Supply in New England

A farm with a biosecurity sign at the entrance.

We have recently witnessed how a human epidemic like COVID-19 can impact animal protein supply chains. A highly contagious disease of food animals themselves could result in even more disruption of those supply chains. An example of such a disease is foot-and-mouth disease (FMD). An outbreak of FMD would directly impact all farmers with cattle, pigs, and small ruminants and indirectly affect all related segments of agriculture.

Two projects are being led by led by Animal and Veterinary Sciences Research Associate Professor Julie Smith, Secure Food SupplyNew England Style and A Systems Approach to Securing the New England Milk Supply in the Event of a Foot-and-Mouth Disease Outbreak. They are designed to support preparedness planning for responding to a highly contagious animal disease emergency.

A screenshot with the aerial view of a farm mapping application.

To achieve project aims, Smith and her staff and students are engaging with state animal health authorities, industry players, and producers. Enhanced biosecurity plans need to include farm maps with specific elements identified and students affiliated with the Social Ecological Gaming and Simulation Laboratory have been developing a web-based application for that.

Smith Lab Summer Projects

Abigail Brown, an undergraduate Animal and Veterinary Sciences (ASCI) major, is developing a tutorial to support users of the mapping application being developed through Smiths Secure Food Supply project. The mapping app and associated resources will be made available on the project website, secure-agriculture.org, created by the project’s Communications Professional Joanna Cummings.

The lab looks forward to welcoming Madeline Beaudry who will begin a masters program and Johnbosco Osuagwu, who will begin a doctoral program this fall.

An image of the Halifax, Nova Scotia ferry.Smith is heading to Halifax, Nova Scotia, later this summer for the International Symposium in Veterinary Epidemiology and Economics and to meet with some of the founding members of the World Animal Biosecurity Association.

Look for the special topic on Promoting Compliance with Biosecurity in Animal Production Smith is co-editing for Frontiers in Veterinary Science.

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