Expanding excellence

May 30, 2018

With $183,000 in funding from the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, University of Minnesota faculty are creating an accessible nationwide system for improving poultry disease prevention and preparedness.

In 2014 and 2015, a strain of highly pathogenic avian influenza wiped out nearly 50 million birds and resulted in more than $3.75 billion in lost production, disease control costs, and loss of export markets worldwide. In response, UMN researchers developed an online tool for Midwest poultry producers to improve responses to outbreaks and help producers mitigate foreign animal diseases on farms. The team was led by Carol Cardona, DVM, PhD, professor and Pomeroy Endowed Chair in Avian Health in the Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine.

In March, Cardona received the 2018 Ranelius Award from the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association for her guidance and expertise during the 2014-2015 outbreak. This new grant presents the opportunity for Cardona and her team to further build upon this legacy of industry impact.

With the grant, the team will create an online tool to allow producers to perform farm mapping and disease reporting. This would allow them to more easily manage flocks, which could improve farm biosecurity. It will also allow companies to participate, satiating a need to coordinate information amongst individual farms that send animals to a central processing location. The tool will also make standard reporting procedures, such as tracebacks and filing with the appropriate agencies, easier for producers.

“The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research is pleased to support innovative technology to help farmers protect their livelihoods and our nation’s food supply,” says Sally Rockey, executive director of the organization’s foundation. “This new tool will give producers and first responders the opportunity to get ahead of an outbreak, and equip them with the tools needed for faster control and effective recovery.”