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Addressing Animal Agriculture Issues in Community Emergency Planning
A. L. Husband, R. N. Yeargan
Emergency planning for agricultural animal issues is important to communities in terms of economics and public safety and health. While most communities have robust emergency operations plans that deal with human issues, agricultural animal emergency planning is often lacking. Through seminar presentations, this project will increase the knowledge base among the agriculture and emergency management communities regarding the need for incorporating animal issues into local plans and the issues that are most critical for accomplishing this goal. Important concepts such as zoonotic diseases, carcass disposal, animal identification, and proper animal handling are addressed in detail through formal lectures, augmented by contributions from local subject matter experts and small group interaction. A follow-up workshop will train attendees in the process of developing local agricultural emergency plans, and provide the tools and skills needed to sustain the planning process in their communities. The workshop empowers local Extension personnel and other community partners to: build capacity to handle agriculture issues during an emergency or disaster; improve networking among stakeholders who can plan for and respond to emergencies; and establish or enhance agrosecurity components within existing local emergency operations plans. The sequential delivery of the seminars and workshop provides a unique foundation for a building-block approach to exercises that will improve animal agrosecurity within the Commonwealth of Kentucky, which other states can emulate in the future. As a result of the cumulative training, participants will be more prepared and be able to more effectively respond to emergencies or disasters involving agricultural animal populations, thereby increasing the readiness capabilities of the community at large. Additionally, these efforts will facilitate a rigorous review, update, and expansion of educational resources.