Thursday December 11, 2014 from 9:30 AM to 2:30 PM CST
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Lane County 4-H Building
Fairgrounds Road
Dighton, KS 67839

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Mary Howell
Kansas Farmers Union & Kansas Graziers Association

AG Sponsor Box


Emergency Preparedness for Livestock Operations


In order for producers to be prepared for high mortality situations resulting from disease, weather (fire, tornado, severe cold or heat, etc.) or other causes, a single day workshop covering all areas has been organized.  Attendees will learn first-hand from speakers involved with emergency preparedness for livestock operations.

  9:30     Registration
10:00     Introduction and workshop objectives  

Dr. Joel DeRouchey, K-State Extension
10:15     Risk management and mortality documentation for livestock                producers Todd Barrows, Kansas State FSA Office; Agriculture Program                Specialist
10:45     Reaction and response to a high mortality infectious disease                 outbreak Dr. Bill Brown, Kansas Animal Health Commissioner
11:15     Windbreaks for winter livestock protection  Dr. Charles Barden, K-State               Extension
11:45     Morning roundtable discussion
12:15     Lunch
12:45     Approved mortality disposal options for Kansas producers                                    Dr. Joel DeRouchey and Pat Murphy, K-State Extension
1:15      Pre-selection of an emergency disposal sites for large and small                livestock farms Ken Powell, KDHE, Bureau of Waste Management, Solid               Waste Permits Section
1:45       How do I prepare for an emergency on my operation?
2:15       Afternoon Roundtable discussion
2:30       Adjourn

Along with Kansas Farmers Union and the Kansas Graziers Association, Amazing Grazing II partners include: Kansas NRCS, Kansas Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education, Kansas Center for Sustainable Agriculture and Alternative Crops, Kansas State Research and Extension, Farm Credit, and the Kansas Grazing Land Coalition, with funding from North Central Extension Risk Management Education Center and USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

Hope for the Best, Plan for the Worst
Upcoming workshops address emergency preparedness for livestock operations in Kansas
by Tom Parker

The phone jarred Ken Powell awake. Groggy and disoriented, he glanced at the clock while fumbling with the receiver: midway between midnight and one a.m.

From past experiences as an environmental scientist for the Kansas Dept. of Health and Environment's Bureau of Waste Management, he knew there were only two types of phone calls at that time of night-wrong numbers and emergencies. This was an emergency.


The caller was from a turkey facility in Cherokee County. Sometime that evening a power failure had stilled the fans and now the facility had thousands upon thousands of dead birds to contend with. Compounding the problem was a string of triple-digit heat indexes that barely dipped below the mid-eighties at night. Carcasses were already starting to rot. There was absolutely no way to get that many birds to the rendering plant, and the operations manager was frantic.


No problem, Powell told the manager. He could start burying the birds immediately and Powell would contact him in the morning with the necessary paperwork.


The catastrophic kill-off was bad enough, but it would have been much worse if not for a voluntary program administered by the Bureau of Waste Management to identify and designate pre-selected emergency disposal sites for livestock operations. Without that clearance, Powell would have had to inspect the site before disposal could begin, squandering critical time. Instead, the facility had a site already selected and was able to begin disposal immediately, and Powell was able to go back to sleep.


"It sure does make a difference if there's an emergency," Powell said. "Death losses can be managed in a timely manner by having disposal sites selected in advance."

When every minute counts, proper planning can make, or break, a livestock operation if disaster strikes. Having a pre-selected site for carcass disposal is just one facet of emergency preparedness. Others include risk management for animal disease outbreaks, the use of windbreaks for winter livestock protection, and others. Last year's freak blizzard that struck South Dakota killed tens of thousands of cattle and left producers scrambling to recover as well as dispose of the bodies.


Planning for such disasters will be the focus of two upcoming workshops on emergency preparedness for livestock operations. They will be held on Wednesday, Dec. 10, at K-State Salina's College Campus Center, and on Thursday, Dec. 11 at the Lane County 4-H Building in Dighton. Both events begin at 9:30 a.m. and adjourn at 2:30 p.m.


Guest speakers include Dr. Joel DeRouchey, K-State University Extension Animal Science Dept.; Dr. Charles Barden, K-State University Extension Forestry Dept.; Todd Barrows, Kansas Farm Service Agency Ag Program Specialist; Dr. William Brown, Kansas Animal Health Commissioner; Dr. Pat Murphy, K-State University Agricultural Engineering Department; and Ken Powell, Kansas Department of Health and Environment, Bureau of Waste Management.


Topics include risk management and mortality documentation for livestock producers, reaction and response to a high infectious disease outbreak, windbreaks for winter livestock protection, approved mortality disposal options for Kansas producers, pre-selection of emergency disposal sites for large and small livestock operations and personal preparations for operational emergencies.


"Producers need to have an idea about how they'll handle specific cases of high mortality loss," said Dr. Joel DeRouchey. "While those occurrences are rare, they do happen. Believing they will never happen to you isn't the correct approach. We're always optimists, but knowing what to do during or immediately after a large number of mortalities is critical.Having a plan in place that can be communicated quickly and effectively right away can mitigate the situation."


Registrations can be made online at AmazingGrazingKansas.com by clicking on the Events link. Be sure to register for the location you will be attending. Preregistration costs $15 per participant and must be received by Dec. 5.


Amazing Grazing is a collaboration of the Kansas Farmers Union and the Kansas Graziers Association with funding from the North Central Extension Risk Management Education Center and the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Project partners include: KSRE, Kansas Grazing Lands Coalition, Frontier Farm Credit, NRCS-Kansas, and Kansas Center for Sustainable Ag and Alternative Crops.

About Kansas Farmers Union
Kansas Farmers Union is the state's oldest active general farm organization working to protect and enhance the economic interests and quality of life for family farmers and ranchers and rural communities. We believe family ownership of farm land is the basis for the world's most viable system of food and fiber production, and that maintaining this family farm system will preserve our natural and human resources.