Joseph, Mo, August 8, 2007—The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has signed a cooperative agreement with the American Angus AssociationSM. A ceremonial signing was held to recognize the cooperative efforts of both groups in the education of the premise registration process and enrollments.
In recent years, biosecurity issues around the world have prompted action in the United States to avoid similar outbreaks potentially threatening our food supply. It also sparked an overall effort to educate those in production agriculture on the risks and preventative measures associated with biosecurity issues. Traceability, through premise registration, has been identified as one key preventative component in this effort.
Under the agreement, educational efforts will include on-site educational discussions through the Association's Outreach Seminars and other educational programs, print advertising, direct mail as well as e-mail communications. In addition, with the assistance of ABG, Inc., online training programs will be available to cattle producers across the nation. The online program will describe the value and benefits of registering premises and the steps necessary to complete an enrollment.
Food and agriculture biosecurity are an important component of USDA's mission. Improving awareness through enhanced outreach and communications is a key element of homeland security efforts.
Marty Vanier, DVM, Manhattan, Kan., serves as the associate director of Kansas State University's National Agricultural Biosecurity Center. She added, “It is critical to manage events which help prevent and mitigate the spread of diseases affecting animal health and food safety. The consumer wants to know the product they eat is not only palatable and enjoyable, but most importantly, is safe. The American Angus Association, through the Certified Angus Beef program, AngusSource® and now through this grant, is illustrating its desire to ensure the safety of the end product for the consumer.”
Founded in 1883, the Association has made a significant impact on the cattle industry having registered more than 15 million Angus cattle, with 347,572 head of cattle registered in 2006. In recent years, the organization has implemented programs such as AngusSource, a genetic-, age- and source-verification program that assists producers in the documentation and authenticity of Angus genetics which ultimately enter the food chain. AngusSource also joined forces with Pfizer Animal Health to promote the importance of good herd health. In January, the Association released the results of Priorities First, the first comprehensive attempt to prioritize management and economic issues for cow-calf producers.
“This collective effort of livestock organizations and state and federal authorities is the first step in protecting the health of America's livestock industry. The American Angus Association is pleased to have the opportunity to assist livestock producers register their premises,” said John Crouch, Association executive vice president.
The American Angus Association, with headquarters in Saint Joseph, Mo., provides programs and services to more than 34,000 members and thousands of commercial cattle producers. Its entities include Angus Productions Inc., Certified Angus Beef LLC, and Angus Genetics Inc., wholly owned subsidiaries, and the Angus Foundation, a not-for-profit organization that supports education, youth and research.