Livestock Disaster Prevention Program

It's what city officials are calling a unique plan, a year and a half in the making.

It's a $1.4 million program aimed at protecting and preparing livestock from disaster.

The Panhandle Regional Planning Commission is bringing the federally funded Regional Resiliency Assessment Program to the high plains.

John Kiehl, the regional services director from the PRPC says, "this was the first RRAP project that was undertaken to try and strengthen the resiliency of an Ag sector industry.  In this case it was the regions cattle feeding industry."

He tells us plans have been created to protect livestock against both natural and man-made threats, such as Foot and Mouth Disease.

They also strengthen bio security measures, not just against terrorists, but naturally occurring acts based on worst case scenarios.  

Vice President of Texas Cattle Feeders Association Ben Weinheimer says, "it's to help them be better prepared for feed yard file security issues, business continuity issues, as as overall the regional response to a foreign animal disease."

He tells us they picked out feed lots to test out their plans before deciding on each one.

Now that they're complete, they're looking to spread the word.

Kiehl says, "what we're doing right now is working to share what we've developed with our RRAP with other cattle feeders around the country. "

However, these plans are not just for feed lots.

They can be put in place for dairies, calf ranches, swine operations and grain haulers just to name a few.

From feed yard workers, county judges to state and federal agencies, both Kiehl and Weinheimer say the project could not have happened without teamwork.

"It's very much a success story of collaboration and cooperation among a large, diverse group of stake holders," says Weinheimer.

The last case of foot and mouth disease in livestock in the US was in 1929.

In 2001 there was a serious outbreak of FMD in the UK.

Many livestock were euthanised.

Kiehl says through these plans, they are working to minimize if not do away with euthanization altogether.

Texas is the top cattle producing state in the nation.

Kiehl says the panhandle alone is responsible for close to 30% of the nations beef supply. 

It also has a $15 billion economic impact on the panhandle region alone.

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