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US: seminar on animal health data collection

Tammy R. Beckham, DVM, Ph.D., director of the National Center for Foreign Animal and Zoonotic Disease Defense (FAZD Center) recently presented a seminar on animal health data collection and integration at the 45th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Swine Veterinarians, March 1, in Dallas, Texas.

Dr. Beckham's presentation, "Challenges and solutions to data confidentiality, integration and access during an animal emergency," was part of the pre-conference seminar series for the meeting. In her talk, Dr. Beckham highlighted the lessons learned through development and piloting of the AgConnect suite of tools for how integrated movement, premises and diagnostic laboratory data can help enhance producer activities on a daily basis in addition to supporting animal health officials needs during an emergency. The technology is currently being piloted with several swine producers, whose feedback is critical for enhancing the capabilities of the system.

"The commercial swine industry is a progressive and integrated livestock industry with significant data management needs," said Dr. Beckham. "In addition to outbreak mitigation for animal health officials, AgConnect has the potential to add efficiency to an operation and support sector-specific business continuity planning by providing users with a common operating system for visualization and analysis of complex data."

Dr. Beckham's presentation highlighted the several aspects of the current AgConnect pilot efforts and how the tool can be used to benefit the swine industry. The FAZD Center has partnered with the National Pork Board and swine producers to develop and pilot components of the AgConnect suite supporting continuity of business and emergency response. Producers and veterinarians have provided critical feedback regarding the tool's pilot development, identifying capabilities that would help facilitate use of this tool at the production level to support daily herd management. Though the tool is still in the pilot stages, this partnership has resulted in a more robust tool that can support a swine operation's business continuity efforts and in turn, protect the livestock industry in the U.S. and abroad.

In addition to Dr. Beckham, several members of the FAZD Center leadership team attended the meeting to network with swine production companies and associated veterinarians. Melissa Berquist, Ph.D., Lindsey Holmstrom, DVM, and Keith Biggers, Ph.D., were on hand to discuss AgConnect's functionality and applicability to surveillance, risk management and business continuity planning efforts.

For more information on the FAZD Center information systems, visit

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