Such are the findings of two K-State professors of agricultural economics -
Ted Schroeder and John Leatherman - in a paper published in the October edition
of the Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics.
FMD has not occurred in the US since 1929, but it would have devastating
effects on intensive livestock regions such as Kansas State.
Analysis of FMD outbreak
The team focused its research on
a 14-county region in southwest Kansas - an area with large cattle feeding
Three scenarios were considered:
- Introduction of the disease accidentally at a single
- Introduction of the disease accidentally at a
- Introduction of the disease intentionally at five large feedlots.
The results revealed that the greater the number of animals infected, the
longer the outbreak would last.
Slaughter of livestock
In the first scenario, 126,000
head of livestock would have to be destroyed and the outbreak would last 29
days. For the second scenario, 407,000 animals would be slaughtered and the
duration would increase to 39 days.
However, FMD is predicted to wreck havoc in the third scenario - up to 1.7m
head of livestock would have to be destroyed. The outbreak would carry on for a
period of nearly three months.
In monetary terms, economic losses in all
three scenarios would amount to US$23m, $US140m and $US685m respectively.
"Not just farmers, ranchers, feed lots and packers would suffer from such an
outbreak, but the entire state," commented Leatherman.
The study has led to an additional call for the National Bio and Agro-defence
Facility (NBAF) to be located in Kansas by the dean of K-State's College of
Agriculture, Fred Cholick, saying that "agriculture has a huge impact in Kansas.
Both Kansas and Manhattan are at the centre of the industry which NBAF is
charged to protect. Disease does not have any boundaries, thus development of
knowledge and surveillance are paramount to food safety".
â€¢ Kansas State University
College of Agriculture
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