This week, the Kansas Pork Association is participating in an emergency preparedness exercise, Invisible Fire 2015, being led by the Kansas Department of Agriculture (KDA).

The four-day exercise will test the state’s foreign animal disease response plan. This is another step in the agency’s five-year effort to improve preparedness. Individuals from multiple state and federal agencies, three counties in southwest Kansas, the livestock industry, Kansas State University and other state emergency preparedness officials will practice responding to a hypothetical foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) outbreak in the U.S. The purpose is to evaluate the response plan and any revisions added from the last test exercise in 2013.

“Agriculture is the largest industry and economic driver in Kansas,” said Jackie McClaskey, Kansas Secretary of Agriculture. “Responding to a foreign animal disease like FMD will require cooperation among state, local and federal government, private industry, universities and more to stop the spread of the disease and enable the industry to get back to business as quickly as possible. We are grateful to have so many partners join us for this exercise and all efforts to serve and protect Kansas agriculture.”

Foot-and-mouth disease was last identified in the United States in 1929. FMD is a highly contagious disease of cattle, sheep, swine, goats, deer and other cloven-hooved animals. It is not a human food safety concern or public health threat. It is a primary concern for animal health officials because it could have potentially devastating economic consequences due to disrupted trade and lost investor confidence.

KDA leads exercise to test foreign animal disease response