The Illinois Milk Producers Association (IMPA) and other livestock groups share a unified message when it comes to preparing for a potential foreign animal disease outbreak.
Obtain a premises identification number for your farm as soon as possible, or make sure the information is up to date if you previously registered, to enhance response time in the event of a disease outbreak.
Livestock farmers can participate in the voluntary program statewide by contacting the Illinois Department of Agriculture via phone at 217-782-4944 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
There is no cost to obtain a premises ID number and the information stays confidential.
“We need everybody — poultry, swine, beef and dairy producers — to all register with the state of Illinois,” Don Mackinson, IMPA president and dairy farmer from Pontiac (Livingston County), told the RFD Radio Network during the Illinois Dairy Summit in Bloomington. “So, if there is an outbreak of something, we can easily be found and told what’s going on.”
In the event of an animal disease outbreak, livestock movements will come to a stop and people with premises ID numbers will be notified first.
Those who try to enter or exit control zones will be required to list a premises ID number. Those without an ID will have to go through an approval process and will be dropped down the priority list.
“The idea is the premises ID number will allow officials to quickly ID farms in a specific area. Before, it took days or even weeks to trace something back,” Tasha Bunting, IMPA manager, told RFD. “What’s important to remember is it’s all about animal health for every species in the industry.”
Farmers need a separate ID number for each production site separated by more than a quarter mile. If there are multiple species on a single site, the farmer only needs one number for that location.
The total number of animals at each site won’t be recorded and all information remains confidential, Bunting noted.
“It’s only looking for where animals are housed, kept or raised,” she said. “They’re not asking for numbers, just to identify where species are located.”
Locations in need of premises ID aren’t limited to farms but include anywhere animals are housed, such as zoos, fairgrounds and custom slaughterhouses, according to Bunting.
Foreign animal disease threats of particular concern currently include African swine fever and foot and mouth disease.
And the U.S. livestock industry isn’t immune to such outbreaks as witnessed just in the last two decades.
The finding of bovine spongiform encephalopathy in a single cow in Washington State in 2003 cost the beef industry about $2 billion in lost exports in 2004 alone; an outbreak of porcine epidemic diarrhea virus affected nearly half the U.S. swine herd in 2013-14 and resulted in hog losses of more than 8 million head; and highly pathogenic avian influenza swept across the Midwest in 2015 and killed about 50 million turkeys and chickens, with the largest losses in Iowa and Minnesota.