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Best to plan now for animal disease outbreak

How quickly could you come up with a list of who has been on your farm or ranch in the last couple weeks?

A strong preparedness plan would include a record of visitors and animal movement, both on and off the property, to save steps during an emergency, producers heard at the Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association district meeting in Swift Current last month.

Shauna Mellish, facilitator and outreach specialist with the Animal Health Emergency Management project, said a serious animal disease outbreak or a weather-based disaster are examples of why livestock producers should have a plan.

The project began in 2016 and is funded through Agri-Insurance in the Canadian Agricultural Partnership.

Mellish said producers already know how BSE affected the industry by shutting down trade and weakening the sector overall. It could also undermine public trust, she said.

The project has involved developing resources for producers “that provide a consistent set of tools and guidelines that could be applied across all sectors, across regions, so that when it came time to prepare and respond we were being consistent in how we did that and then efficient as well,” she said in an interview.

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