MANHATTAN, Kan. — The Kansas Department of Agriculture hosted a planning seminar for the Multi-State Partnership for Security in Agriculture the week of Feb. 5–9. Representatives from 16 states gathered in the Manhattan KDA building to work on strategies to improve the nation’s readiness to respond to emergencies and disasters affecting the agriculture community.
The Multi-State Partnership is a consortium of 15 state departments of agriculture and state veterinarians’ offices in the Midwest. It was formed in 2003 with a few member states and has continued to grow as the Partnership has made substantial progress in the area of animal emergency planning.
This group of veterinarians, emergency managers and planners convene on an annual basis to share information and work on topics of importance to the agriculture community. In between these face-to-face meetings, there are monthly conference calls and a variety of training and exercise activities aimed at reducing vulnerability to emerging threats to the food and agriculture sector.
Topics this year included planning for a 12-state foreign animal disease exercise that will be conducted in May and sharing of best practices for implementing continuity of business plans in a variety of agriculture sectors including dairy, beef, swine and poultry.
States participating in the seminar included Kansas, Iowa, Kentucky, Texas, Michigan, Arizona, Illinois, Minnesota, Wisconsin, South Dakota, Colorado, Washington, Ohio, Indiana, North Carolina and Oklahoma.
A portion of the meeting was set aside to amend the original charter and to add several states that have expressed interest in joining the Partnership. Some funding for the seminar was provided by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. KDA participates in the Multi-State Partnership as part of its mission to protect animal health and promote public health and safety.