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Regional AgroSecurity Conference May 21-22

by Joanne Littlefield

What do blizzards, bird flu and zoonotic diseases all have in common? They all have the potential to cripple or shut down food production and impact animal and human health in Colorado. They are also the topics of discussion at the upcoming Regional Animal AgroSecurity Conference.

Sponsored by the national Extension Disaster Education Network (EDEN), the conference is designed for emergency planners in local, state and federal agencies, Extension professionals and interested members of the general public.

Disasters come in all shapes and sizes ” from adverse weather conditions to an outbreak of food-borne illness. Response to animal health issues during the extreme weather conditions of the winter 2006-2007 blizzards in Colorado gave real-life experience to many who in the past had discussed all the possible scenarios. In other regions of the United States threats to animal and human health put emergency plans to the test. These will be discussed throughout the two days of the conference. Participants will also have the opportunity to work their way through potential scenarios and come up with protocol for detection, public notification, remediation and resolution.

According to conference organizer Tom McBride of Colorado State University Extension, Adams County, the negative effects of an incident may be obvious when tens of thousands of animals are involved, but impact can be felt from a single case on at an isolated locations. “An animal disease outbreak, especially one involving an emerging or foreign animal disease, can be devastating not only for those producers directly affected but the industry as a whole,” he says. “They might not understand it, but the general public as well as local, national and international economies can also be negatively impacted.”

Zoonotic diseases are those that have the potential to cross over from animals to humans. State and federal health departments then become involved, such as while monitoring for avian influenza (bird flu). Knowing which departments can and should be involved helps community members to understand their roles and how to quickly respond to protect human health.

The Regional Animal AgroSecurity Conference will be held Denver, May 21-22 at the Holiday Inn, Denver International Airport and the John Q. Hammons Convention Center, 15500 E. 40th Avenue, Denver, Colo. The program runs from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. each day. The cost is $20.00.

By the end of a conference, attendees will be able to describe the roles of Extension and other agencies/organizations in an animal agrosecurity event within their region.

Conference attendees will be able to identify key roles and players in:

– Emergency and disaster management in an animal agrosecurity event.

– Education during all phases of emergency and disaster management.

– Partnership development within and across states.

– Crisis communication related to an animal agrosecurity event.

– State animal response team development.

– Educational program and material development/delivery for an animal agrosecurity event.

Registration information is available online at http://www.coopext.colostate.edu/Adams/events/pdf/RegionalAnimalAgroSecurityConference.pdf. For more information contact the Weld County Extension office by calling (970) 304-6535 or conference organizer Tom McBride, Adams County Extension (303) 637-8110 or email TMcBride@co.adams.co.us.


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