NMPF Awarded USDA Grants to Advance Dairy Industry Disease Preparedness

USDA APHIS’ National Animal Disease Preparedness and Response Program (NADPRP) awarded NMPF funding May 16 to support two projects advancing dairy cattle disease preparedness, timely support as the dairy industry evolves in response to H5N1 in dairy cattle.

The first award will expand on USDA funding NMPF received in 2021 to build the National Dairy Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (FARM) Biosecurity Program. FARM Biosecurity provides dairy farmers with the tools to protect the health of their herds and employees from everyday and foreign animal diseases.

Biosecurity resources developed from the initial 2021 USDA funding are currently being used to respond to the H5N1 dairy cattle outbreak. This new funding will expand educational resources and training opportunities for producers, cooperatives, state animal health officials and FARM Program evaluators; update the Secure Milk Supply Plan guidance and further develop the capabilities of the FARM Biosecurity database.

The second award will bring together stakeholders including dairy cooperatives, milk haulers, milk testing labs, state and federal animal health officials and National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN) lab directors to conduct a gap analysis and create a report outlining current capabilities and guidance for industry and policymakers to implement a foot-and-mouth disease diagnostic assay using bulk tank milk samples to provide herd-level disease surveillance in the event of an outbreak.

“USDA funding for continued enhancement of biosecurity on dairy farms for emerging and foreign animal diseases arrives at a time when the dairy industry is already using USDA-funded resources to address the challenges of H5N1,” Gregg Doud, president and CEO of NMPF, said. “This ongoing collaboration between USDA and NMPF is building resiliency for the U.S. dairy industry now and for the future.”

The grants are funded by the 2018 Farm Bill as part of an overall strategy to help prevent animal pests and diseases from entering the United States and reduce the spread and impact of potential disease incursions through advance planning and preparedness.

NMPF will apply the grant funding to advance biosecurity and diagnostic testing capabilities to support animal health on dairy farms by partnering with stakeholders and experts, including dairy farmers, veterinarians, dairy cooperatives and processors, NAHLN laboratories, Preventalytics LLC, and state and federal animal health officials.

Biosecurity Top-of-Mind with HPAI

Biosecurity – what it is, and how to achieve it – is at the top of every dairy farmer’s mind as cases of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) have been found in dairy cattle in several states. Every farmer can take simple, but meaningful, steps to ensure a well-protected industry, said Karen Jordan, a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, chairwoman of the National Dairy FARM Program’s animal care task force, and a member of NMPF’s Board of Directors, in a Dairy Defined Podcast released today.

“When you start trying to protect against organisms that you can’t see, that puts you in a whole different ballpark,” said Jordan, who also raises about 200 dairy cattle in Siler City, NC. “The bright side is, we’ve got a disease that we don’t have dead animals. We do have an economic disruption, severely. But this gives us an opportunity to really take a hard look at our farms and see what that biosecurity really needs to look like and then how we really enhance it.”

Jordan is joined in the podcast by NMPF’s Chief Science Officer, Jamie Jonker, who is leading NMPF’s HPAI response. The Dairy Defined podcast, you can find and subscribe to the podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and Amazon Music under the podcast name “Dairy Defined.”

Media outlets may use clips from the podcast on the condition of attribution to the National Milk Producers Federation.