Jordan Gebhart

Jordan Gebhart

(Manhattan, KS) -- Biosecurity is a big key to the success of the livestock industry.

Because keeping a disease out of our herds is easier than treating after the fact, that’s why Dr. Jordan Gebhart at Kansas State University is focusing his research on the safety of the feed industry. Bio exclusion is a portion of biosecurity and is important to understanding how viruses spread among animals.

“Bio exclusion is everything we put in place and the procedures we put in place to avoid that pathogen. In this case, a virus, from coming into contact with that susceptible population. So, in terms of feed biosecurity, if we have a feed mill and these feed trucks and manufacturing equipment, the trucks are going from farm to farm, the concept of bio exclusion is avoiding bringing pathogens into this mill to start with. Because once we know that it gets into a mill, in many cases, it becomes widely distributed and we really don’t have great methods to remove that contamination and remove that virus from the feed mills.”

In the event of a foreign animal disease outbreak like African Swine Fever, Gebhart says communication is a key to battling it.

“One area that I think we really need to emphasize, and continue to emphasize, not only in the swine industry but in animal agriculture in general, in understanding feed manufacturing, feed processing, and delivering feed to our farms is communication. If we have a swine facility, for example, or a feedlot operation, or if we have a certain disease outbreak, a certain health issue, we need to communicate that to the right people. In general, there’s a certain stigma that’s associated with communicating some of those health challenges and wanting to internalize that information, but something like this where it’s connected as our feed supply chain is across a variety of different entities and different production systems, we really need to begin to communicate better across these different systems.”

With the infrastructure and transportation systems in place across the U.S., foreign animal diseases can spread quickly without proper communication.

“If I’m a producer and I have a certain health event, I should communicate with a feed mill so that feed mill knows how to handle that feed truck. We’ve clearly demonstrated in the research how trucks and people can spread this virus back, so we need to communicate with the appropriate parties to make sure that we can implement those control measures to reduce the chance of us spreading that virus back to the mill, and then to other farms. So, the big takeaway that I’d like to emphasize is the importance and the need for communication across different production systems and across different stakeholders within the feed supply chain.”

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