9 Questions for Producers and Processors to Consider

January 23, 2014 07:43 PM

This is in conjuction with the article "In Command of a Crisis" from the February issue of Dairy Today.

The last thing USDA’s Darrel Styles wants to see during a Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) outbreak is a knee-jerk reaction in dealing with the crisis.

Styles is with the National Center for Animal Health Emergency Management at USDA-APHIS. One of the severe consequences of an FMD outbreak, he says, is the certainty that the U.S. will lose its international markets for an indeterminate amount of time.

But the nation’s domestic market is a different matter. "For dairy, we don’t want any impediments to the interstate movement of raw milk and other commodities," says Styles. "That would be devastating."

That’s why he urges the dairy producers, processors and allied industry to address these issues before an FMD outbreak occurs:

• Will the industry process milk from vaccinated cattle?

• Will the industry tolerate a modicum of FMD in milk?

• Will the industry process milk from recovered cattle?

• How will producers manage milk that may require disposal if it can’t be processed?

• Will the industry be able to maintain its replacement heifer supply?

• What contingency plan does the industry have for feed and forage supplies?

• What contingency plans exist for export and trade loss?

• What contingency plans are in place for profit loss?

• Be aware that processing plants are likely to be silently exposed to FMD as some milk makes its way through the system before the disease is detected.

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