USDA and Partners Deliver Lasting Protections with Farm Bill Funding

By Chelsea Carey, Acting Veterinary Services NADPRP Project Coordinator and Antonia Florio, Veterinary Services Outreach and Communication

November 2023

Benjamin Franklin was right when he said, ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.’ Nothing could be truer when it comes to protecting agriculture. The 2015 outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza reminded us just how costly foreign animal disease outbreaks are for America’s livestock growers and the nation’s food supply.

Bolstering Early Detection and Response Capabilities

Following that outbreak, U.S. animal agriculture organizations and State departments of agriculture called for a comprehensive program that would fund projects to enhance animal disease prevention, early detection, and response capabilities. They also sought to strengthen cooperation between industry, State, Federal organizations, and others, including veterinarians and agricultural universities. A few years later, Congress answered this call when they established the National Animal Disease Preparedness and Response Program (NADPRP) in the 2018 Farm Bill.

“Everyone who worked on the initial framework hoped to implement a program that would have lasting positive impacts on our ability to prepare for and respond to foreign animal disease in livestock and poultry,” said Alecia Naugle, APHIS Veterinary Services Associate Deputy Administrator. “NADPRP has lived up to that expectation. It is a flagship program for APHIS.”

Today, partners use NADPRP funds to generate new ideas to rapidly control outbreaks and mitigate their impact. At the 3-day, NADPRP-funded “Regional Ruckus 2023” workshop shown here, animal disease emergency response experts from 34 States, 3 regional animal disease response organizations, 7 universities, and 6 Federal agencies took part in discussions and exercises to identify challenges and best practices for planning and responding to animal disease emergencies.

Rapid Progress

NADPRP started small but has grown quickly. In the program’s first year, APHIS invested $5 million to start 36 training and exercise projects for animal agriculture sector emergency responders. Today, we have awarded almost $40 million to support 180 projects in 9 high-priority areas for animal disease preparedness. These projects are boosting local, regional, and national capabilities to prevent, prepare for, and respond to animal disease outbreaks.

“Collaboration is at the core of NADPRP,” said Julie Wallin, Veterinary Services Farm Bill Programs Director. “APHIS staff foster discussions with State and Federal agencies, Tribes, universities, livestock and veterinary organizations, and others to make sure the funds are directed to projects that can move the needle on current animal disease outbreak concerns.”

NADPRP In Action

NADPRP funding is helping to advance a wide range of projects from online education programs to research into foreign animal disease prevention. Here are just a few examples of NADPRP funds in action:

Developing Vaccination Distribution Plans for a Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) Outbreak

Building an Effective Communications Network

From 2020 to 2022, NADPRP provided $49,500 to Oklahoma State University to train extension specialists to support local response efforts during an outbreak and stand up an animal disease communication network across Oklahoma. OSU also developed a Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) that trained educators and Army reservists to support local response efforts in the event of an outbreak. During the 2022 HPAI outbreak, the DART team used their network to quickly convey information from State and USDA authorities to State extension agents so they could field questions from poultry owners.

Promoting Biosecurity

From 2021 to 2023, NADPRP provided $1.3 million to the National Milk Producers Federation, the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, the American Association of Equine Practitioners, and the American Sheep Industry Association. Together, these groups are leading projects that increase biosecurity practices among livestock owners and raise awareness about the importance of strong farm biosecurity to prevent devastating animal disease outbreaks.

Looking to the Future

Although we’re excited by what we’ve accomplished in 5 short years, we’re not stopping here. To mark NADPRP’s 5th Anniversary, we’re going to share stories that celebrate our partner’s most successful innovations, programs, and activities. We hope these stories will inspire our partners to achieve even more.