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NMPF Farmer Leadership Meets with USDA on Important Animal Health Issues

July 8, 2019

Karen Jordan, DVM Chair of the NMPF Animal Health and Wellbeing Committee and NMPF staff met with USDA APHIS Administrator Kevin Shae and other USDA animal health leadership June 13 to discuss important animal-health issues for U.S. dairy farmers.

Dr. Jordan spoke about the importance of industry-government collaboration on preparedness for foreign animal diseases such as Foot and Mouth Disease. She commented on the need for USDA to modernize the FMD Vaccine Bank. “While there is always the promise for better vaccines in the future, now is the time to build a best-in-class FMD Vaccine Bank with the new funding provided by the 2018 Farm Bill,” she said. Jordan also stressed the need to maintain and enhance the Secure Milk Supply and the FMD Bulk Tank Milk Test.

Stakeholders also discussed domestic cattle diseases during the meeting. USDA is revising and updating its Bovine Tuberculosis Eradication Program Standards to meet the reality of the disease today. Jordan complimented USDA for its monthly teleconferences with the dairy and beef sectors and identified improving TB diagnostics as a priority for advancing TB eradication. The caudal fold test has outlived its usefulness for Test and Remove Protocol for dairy herds affected by TB.

Finally, Jordan expressed the importance of trade to U.S. dairy farmers. “More than 15 percent of U.S. milk is exported around the world, and APHIS leadership is necessary to maintain and enhance market access for U.S. dairy farmers,” she said. The important work that USDA APHIS does with Codex Alimentarius, the World Organization for Animal Health, and animal health certification for export certificates is vital for this, she said.