State Liaison, APHIS
Legislative and Public Affiars
On March 18 and 19th, approximately 120 State and Tribal representatives convened in Kansas City, Missouri to discuss the key components underlying USDA’s recently announced Animal Disease Traceability Framework. Under this framework, States and Tribes will be responsible for developing animal disease traceability systems that adhere to performance standards set by USDA. The forum provided a venue for APHIS to answer questions about the new framework and to learn how best to support the States and Tribes as they move forward to develop workable traceability systems. Joined by Key APHIS Veterinary Service officials, attendees discussed the key concepts of the new USDA traceability framework which emphasizes a State and Tribal managed programs that provide autonomy in implementation so long as key traceability performance measures are met.
Following a series of background presentations in the first plenary session, participants spent the remainder of the first day in breakout groups discussing key implementation issues including IT infrastructure, liability, jurisdictional issues, resources and recordkeeping. The purpose of these sessions was to outline what works, and what does not, in terms of implementing an effective national program that safeguards animal health and meets the needs of States, Tribes and Industry.
For more information on the issues discussed at the Forum or the progress of the working group, please see the traceability website’s forum page: http://www.aphis.usda.gov/traceability/forum/index.shtml
For more information on APHIS’ animal disease traceability program, please contact Neil Hammerschmidt, APHIS Animal Disease Traceability Manager at: email@example.com
Culminating a six month effort, the National Firewood Task Force (NFTF), has released a set of recommendations for State, Tribal and Federal officials that outline potential strategies to mitigate the movement of invasive forest pests on firewood. Firewood movement is viewed by many as a key pathway for the spread of forest pests such as emerald ash borer and Asian longhorned beetle. To help address this threat, the NFTF was formed in October 2009 to develop recommendations on the issue. The Task Force includes representatives of the National Plant Board (NPB), National Association of State Foresters (NASF), U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, and APHIS.
To develop the recommendations, the Task Force created three subcommittees to examine the primary areas the group believed needed to be addressed - regulatory activities, voluntary activities, and outreach efforts. Working via weekly conference calls, each subgroup identified key challenges and opportunities and developed recommendations for the Task Force to discuss as a whole. These recommendations were then vetted during a two-day meeting held at APHIS headquarters in Riverdale, Maryland in early January. Following this meeting, several members of the NFTF reviewed the group’s comments and developed a final version. This version is now in the process of being presented at the regional meetings of the NPB and is expected to be presented to the regional meetings of NASF later this spring.
It should be noted that several of the recommendations outlined in the report are already underway, including:
The recommendations are available at:
or via the APHIS firewood Hot Issues Page at: http://www.aphis.usda.gov/newsroom/hot_issues/invasive_species&firewood/index.shtmlFor more information on the NFTF, please contact Jacob Hegeman at firstname.lastname@example.org .
APHIS Veterinary Services (VS) National Veterinary Stockpile (NVS) will team with the Southern Agriculture and Animal Disaster Response Alliance (SAADRA) in exercising logistics response plans this spring. The exercises are designed to provide a training environment for State personnel to gain experience with the NVS request process within State and federal agencies, and to identify planning gaps, shortfalls, or limitations that could impair the State’s ability to receive, store, and distribute NVS countermeasures.
The 2010 NVS Exercise Program, which is now in its fifth year, will focus on logistical responders in Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana. According to Becky Caprano, an LMI contractor supporting the NVS Exercise Program, “The SAADRA exercise will give the three exercising State agriculture and emergency response officials an opportunity to have hands-on experience working with the NVS countermeasures that they would need to employ in the event of a foreign animal disease outbreak.” She further explains that it “…will also provide an opportunity for other SAADRA State officials and APHIS VS regional personnel to see the NVS countermeasures and observe the logistical processes and procedures involved in receiving, storing, inventorying, and staging materials to meet response requirements.”
More than 180 participants are expected to attend the exercises that will occur in Montgomery, Alabama, on April 28; Pearl, Mississippi, on April 30; and Baton Rouge, Louisiana on April 30. In addition to members of State and federal agencies, numerous private-sector organizations, including ALFA Farmers Federation, Louisiana Cattleman’s Association, Foster Farms, and Mississippi Farm Bureau, plan to participate.
This year’s exercise scenario sets the stage for States to respond logistically to an intentional introduction of Rift Valley Fever in 10 Southeastern states. Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana will request and receive NVS countermeasure support to respond to the outbreak, which will allow them to validate their ability to execute responsibilities and activities identified in their animal disease support plans as well as perform warehouse activities supporting field response. Other critical exercise objectives include warehouse facility validation and cold-chain management of the simulated vaccine during shipment and storage.
Seven southern States will send agriculture and emergency response personnel to serve as observers at the training sites in support of this year’s exercise program. Federal agencies, such as the USDA Food Safety Inspection Service, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Department of Homeland Security, will also send observers.About NVS
The NVS is the nation’s repository of critical veterinary countermeasures. It exists to provide states with the resources they need to respond to catastrophic animal disease outbreaks. The NVS holds large quantities of supplies, equipment, vaccines, and test kits that it can deploy within 24 hours. It also has partnerships with all-hazards response companies that can arrive within 24 hours to provide large numbers of trained personnel with equipment to help a State when it does not have enough of its own personnel to depopulate, dispose, and decontaminate.
The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is proud of the established tradition it has for protecting and promoting U.S. agricultural health. Our stakeholders are as diverse as the types of animals and plants we have pledged to protect. In an effort to support the President’s vision of a more transparent and collaborative federal government, APHIS is working to develop more collaborative partnerships with its stakeholders.
Name: Nora Wineland
Title: Director, Center for Animal Welfare
Tell us about your role: The Center for Animal Welfare is a new entity for USDA and APHIS. As Director, my role is to collaborate with other Federal agencies, States, industry and NGOs to provide leadership and guidance for the welfare of all animals. The types of activities I envision this will include encompass a large spectrum from analysis to field studies to training and workshops. I have the awesome opportunity and responsibility to build this place where the many organizations with expertise and passion about animal welfare can come together to address needs and create solutions grounded in science.
How long have you worked at APHIS: 25 years!
Education: DVM from Michigan State University; MS in Epidemiology from Colorado State University
Most Memorable APHIS experience: I have had a lot of memorable experiences over the years. In the field I worked on one of the last brucellosis infected herds in Ohio and the producer told me he could call his cattle and they would come when we were ready to test them. Sure enough, he could call them and they came, but getting them into the corral was a whole different deal. More recently we were planning for a NAHMS study and I got called to a meeting with the industry in one of the States that was hosted by the National Agricultural Statistics Service. The local industry officials were not at all informed about the study and had all kinds of questions. Turns out there were some serious communication breakdowns at the national industry associations level and I and they had a lot of patching up to do – that was certainly memorable and the source of many valuable lessons learned. Most recently when serving as the VS 2015 coordinator, I vividly recall a meeting of one of the working groups in Fort Collins. It was late October and a serious snow storm came through and so we packed ourselves off to a local hotel to continue our work uninterrupted. AND everybody came to continue that meeting – which turned out to be very productive. These experiences (and many others) remind me that every day is truly a great opportunity to work with our many dedicated employees, stakeholders, and partners.
Priorities for the coming months: I will be relocating to Kansas City later this summer. In the mean time, I am assessing the demand for the kinds of services and activities that the Center will ultimately be able to provide. I have started this needs assessment internally in Animal Care and shortly will be expanding that reach to include the States and others. I expect to complete this assessment within the next several months so I will be able to develop a strategy for the Center which includes identifying needed resources.
Favorite movie: Mama Mia!
Hobbies: I have a ton of hobbies ranging from raising sheep, spinning their wool and knitting/weaving to together with my husband supporting my oldest daughters’ pursuit of an Olympic archery dream, re-learning to ride a horse with another daughter and helping my youngest explore the world for her special passions.
All Agency vacancies are posted on the APHIS Web site. To view the entire list of APHIS vacancies go to www.aphis.usda.gov. Under Related Topics click on Find a Job in APHIS. The positions highlighted below are for relevant positions that are at the GS-13 level and above.
Position: Supervisory Veterinary Medical Officer
Position: Laboratory Director
Position: Supervisory Medical Officer (AVIC)
Position: Agriculturist (Director Cotton Pest Programs)
Position: Agriculturist (National Program Manager)
Position: Veterinary Medical Officer (Emergency Programs Coordinator)