NCBA engages in Secure Beef Supply Plan development

Farm Forum

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) has been actively involved in the industry effort to develop a Secure Beef Supply Plan. Designed to provide business continuity in the face of a foreign animal disease outbreak, like Foot-and-Mouth Disease, Secure Food Supply plans are a collaboration between industry, state governments, academia and USDA APHIS and plans currently exist for pork, eggs, milk and turkeys.

Foot-and-Mouth Disease is an extremely contagious viral disease of cloven-hoofed livestock and several wildlife species, and an outbreak in the United States would be economically devastating to the livestock industry and close our export markets. Movement of animals would be restricted in the disease control area and quarantines would be imposed. As such, the beef cattle industry supports preparedness plans for FMD and other foreign animal diseases. The Secure Food Supply plans are designed to manage movements of non-infected animals and animal products; to provide a continuous supply of safe and wholesome food for consumers; and to maintain business continuity for producers, transporters and food processors through response planning.

In October, the development a Secure Beef Supply plan started with a steering committee planning meeting. NCBA’s Chief Veterinarian, Dr. Kathy Simmons is actively engaged in the steering committee and several NCBA members serve on the working group, which met for the first time last week in Kansas City, Missouri. The working group is comprised of representatives from all sectors of the beef cattle industry, veterinarians, transporters, livestock markets, processors, State and Federal animal health authorities and academicians.

Ultimately, a Secure Beef Supply plan will benefit the beef industry and consumers through increased coordination and communications, facilitated animal movements, improved animal welfare, ensured business continuity and enhanced response to animal disease. The project is expected to be a multi-year project and involve all sectors of beef cattle production, first focusing on developing a plan for the feeding and processing sectors.

For more information, a speaker from Iowa State University will detail the Secure Beef Supply Plan during the Emerging Cattle Health and Research working group meeting on Thursday, Feb. 5 at the Cattle Industry Convention.