Mississippi Animal Disease and Disaster Preparedness Program
The Mississippi Animal Disease and Disaster Preparedness Program is a very simple and useful program for livestock producers and equine owners. Its basic objective is to develop a state-level producer contact list to assist livestock producers and equine owners in an animal health disease situation or disaster. The program is administered by the Mississippi Board of Animal Health.
Be a Part of the Solution
It is very important that Mississippi livestock producers and equine owners move forward as an industry to safeguard the health of individual herds. The danger of a contagious disease outbreak in the national herd, whether by natural occurrence or terrorist attack, makes it imperative that the location of producers and their herds be readily available to animal health officials. Producer cooperation is essential for rapid disease response in the instance of a contagious disease outbreak.
Rapid response to disease events is critical to maintain the health of the state herd. Certain diseases endanger the entire industry, and they could cripple the nation’s economy if not controlled. Diseases such as foot and mouth disease, bovine tuberculosis, or Johne’s disease have far-reaching potential for major economic impact on cattle producers. Similarly, equine viral arteritis, equine herpesvirus, and equine infectious anemia are examples of major diseases of concern for the horse industry. Quick and effective disease containment is vital for keeping a disease from affecting additional producers. For further information on animal health risk management, visit the Center for Food Security and Public Health at Iowa State University: www.cfsph.iastate.edu. This website is an excellent resource that includes general prevention recommendations beef or dairy cattle operations can implement to decrease the risk of disease introduction or spread on ranches.
Another benefit of enrollment in the Mississippi Animal Disease and Disaster Preparedness Program is that it gives state animal health officials contact information for aid and relief efforts for natural disasters. Hurricanes, tornadoes, and floods are just a few of the possible relevant scenarios in Mississippi that should stimulate appreciation for this aspect of the program. A similar state-level program in Colorado has already benefited cattle producers in disasters. Colorado ranchers with registered farms were called by the Colorado Department of Agriculture’s state veterinarian’s office during blizzards. Those phone calls helped locate animals and find out if they had access to feed. Emergency hay drops then followed. Similarly, a state-level animal disease and disaster preparedness program here at home would prove invaluable when severe weather or other disasters in Mississippi threaten animal agriculture.
How the Program Works
Step 1) Fill out a producer registration form.
Producer registration forms are available in brochures from the Mississippi State University Extension Service, Mississippi Board of Animal Health, or local veterinarians. Filling out a producer registration form means basic contact information is made available to state animal health officials for use only in the event of an animal health emergency. Forms are available here:
The Mississippi State University Extension Service can assist livestock producers and equine owners in obtaining and filling out these forms.
Step 2) Return a completed producer registration form to the State Veterinarian’s office at the Mississippi Board of Animal Health.
Completed producer registration forms can be mailed, faxed, emailed, or completed online. Following is contact information for the State Veterinarian’s office:
Mississippi Board of Animal Health
P.O. Box 3889, Jackson, MS 39207
This contact information is also included on the producer registration form. The form is also designed as a prepaid postage self-mailer for producer convenience.
Step 3) Receive a unique producer registration confirmation in the mail. The registered location is now covered under the program.
A random registration number will be assigned to each completed producer registration form. Participating livestock producers and equine owners will receive a letter from the State Veterinarian’s office confirming receipt of registration information. In the event of an animal health emergency, this information will be used to respond rapidly to protect each participant’s animals and Mississippi’s livestock industries. Otherwise, this basic contact information will remain locked in a database at the Mississippi Board of Animal Health.
How much does it cost to sign up?
Enrollment in the program is free to Mississippi livestock producers and equine owners. The only cost is a few minutes of time to complete the enrollment form. This is a small price to pay for protecting the health of animal agriculture in Mississippi.
Why should livestock producers and equine owners register for the program?
In an emergency, animal health officials cannot help protect Mississippi’s livestock or horses if they do not know where animals are located. This basic contact information opens the lines of communication between producers and animal health officials. Registering a location means program participants will be alerted quickly when there is a potential animal disease threat. Livestock producers and equine owners then have the information and assistance needed to take action and protect both animals and associated investments.
Where will the producer contact information be stored?
The State Veterinarian’s office at the Mississippi Board of Animal Health is responsible for keeping the data on file. The information provided as part of this state animal disease preparedness program will be accessed only on an as-needed basis by animal health officials in the event of an animal health emergency. The program is truly a state-level animal health program.
Take time to review and complete the Mississippi Animal Disease and Disaster Preparedness form. This program could be invaluable in protecting individual livestock and equine operations if an animal disease or disaster occurs in Mississippi. For more information on disease and disaster preparedness, contact an office of the Mississippi State University Extension Service or a veterinarian.
Publication 2487 (POD-06-22)
Reviewed by Brandi Karisch, PhD, Associate Extension/Research Professor, Animal and Dairy Sciences. Written by Jane A. Parish, PhD, Professor and Head, North Mississippi Research & Extension Center; Justin D. Rhinehart, PhD, former Assistant Extension Professor, Animal and Dairy Sciences; and Preston R. Buff, PhD, former Assistant Extension Professor, Animal and Dairy Sciences.
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