The Department of Animal Sciences in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental
Sciences at The Ohio State University seeks to employ a 12-month, tenure-track faculty member at the Assistant rank in Small Ruminant Production and Management to begin in the Autumn 2021 semester or when a suitable candidate is found. All application materials must be received before an application will be considered. The anticipated position split will be 80% Extension and 20% Research.
Swine producers are nervously watching the outbreaks of African Swine Fever (ASF) that are happening around the world. Did you know there is a disease just as devastating that can impact sheep? It is called foot and mouth disease (FMD).
Luckily, the United States (U.S) has not had a case of FMD since 1929. However, with global travel and
trade, the risk of FMD introduction to the U.S. exists. An FMD outbreak could cost the industry $15 to $100 billion U.S. dollars. The U.S. sheep industry has benefited from an expansion in lamb exports and more than half of our wool is exported. One case of FMD in the U.S. and our export market would be shut down. The American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) values preparedness. The ASI funded the development of the Secure Sheep and Wool Supply (SSWS) Plan (securesheepwool.org) to help producers protect their flocks from FMD. Recently, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) partnered with the ASI to fund outreach materials and efforts to increase FMD awareness of producers and other stakeholders.
What Does FMD Look Like?
Foot and mouth disease (sometimes called “hoof” and mouth disease) causes blisters on the feet and in the mouth of cloven-hooved animals (sheep, cattle, pigs, and goats). FMD is a very contagious animal disease. It is NOT the same as hand, foot, and mouth disease in people and does NOT affect people or food safety. Meat and milk are safe for consumption. Cattle infected with FMD show signs of lameness, drooling, and reluctance to move or eat because of
the painful sores. However, FMD-infected adult sheep often show no, or only mild signs of infection, but can still readily spread the disease to other sheep, cattle, pigs, and goats. Signs of FMD that adult sheep may show can be easily confused with other common diseases, making FMD diagnosis very difficult. Young lambs with FMD are much more likely to die, often due to heart problems.
Preventing FMD Spread
Controlling the spread of FMD involves stopping animal and animal product movement. Animal products include raw wool, wool products, semen, embryos, and manure. At the beginning of an FMD outbreak, the USDA is recommending a 72-hour national movement standstill for all cloven hoofed livestock and their products. After this time, movement controls will continue in the areas around infected animals, throughout a state, or even a region. Restarting movement will require a special permit. The permit will be issued by Regulatory Officials after a producer meets certain requirements. The SSWS Plan provides guidance for producers who have sheep with no evidence of FMD infection to meet movement permit requirements, such as those listed here: securesheepwool.org/producers/permit-guidance/.
Secure Sheep and Wool Supply (SSWS) Plan
The SSWS Plan was written with input from industry, State and Federal Animal Health officials, and university partners. The plan supports FMD control for infected farms and business continuity for uninfected farms. State and Federal Animal Health officials recognize the need to destroy FMD without destroying the livestock industry, which is a tough balancing act.
The SSWS Plan provides resources to
help producers voluntarily prepare BEFORE an FMD outbreak. Following the guidance will help producers with sheep that have no evidence of infection, to:
Limit exposure of their animals to FMD through enhanced biosecurity,
Move animals to processing or other premises under a movement permit issued by Regulatory Officials, and Maintain business continuity for the sheep industry, including producers, haulers, packers and wool processors during an FMD outbreak.
Producers wanting to tip the scales in favor of surviving an FMD outbreak can prepare now by:
Having a National Premises Identification Number (PIN) issued by the office of the State Animal Health Official (SAHO):
Working with your flock veterinarian to write an operation-specific, enhanced biosecurity plan.
Resources are available on the SSWS website such as Biosecurity Checklists, Information
Manuals for Enhanced Biosecurity for FMD Prevention, and an enhanced biosecurity
plan template at: https://securesheepwool.org/producers/biosecurity/
Keeping movement records of animals, people, and equipment. Movement logs are available at: https://securesheepwool.org/producers/movement-records
Developing contingency plans for their operation in the case of limited movement
To limit disease spread during an FMD outbreak, animals must be monitored often. Animal caretakers should be trained on the signs of FMD in sheep. Producers should have or establish a relationship with a USDA Category II Accredited Veterinarian. These veterinarians may be needed for disease monitoring and sample collection during an FMD outbreak. To find an accredited veterinarian, use the USDA Accredited Veterinarian locator:
Producers should report suspicious signs of disease to their flock veterinarian or State or Federal Animal Health Official. More guidance to help producers identify FMD signs in their flock, keep records, and report signs of disease is under development.
Wool Handling and Movement
During an FMD outbreak, it’s possible that FMD-infected sheep could be shorn, and their wool stored or moved before the flock is diagnosed. FMD does not cause any visible damage to the wool and it is not possible to detect FMD virus in wool by looking at it. There are no USDA-approved tests to detect FMD in wool (as of March 2021). Depending on several factors, FMD may survive in raw wool for months. There are several methods to kill FMD virus in wool. Biosecure wool storage, identifying bales, and keeping accurate, complete wool movement records are critical in controlling disease spread. Recommendations for handling and moving wool can be found here: https://securesheepwool.org/Assets/SSWS_Wool-Handling-During-FMD-Outbreak.pdf.
Vaccination of animals against FMD is one tool that may be used during an outbreak. Many factors affect the use of FMD vaccine and are explained in this 8-minute video:
In addition, www.aphis.usda.gov/fadprep is a place to find more resources.
Explore resources to help you protect your animals and business (securesheepwool.org). Contact the office of your SAHO to learn more about the SSWS Plan in your state.
WHY ARE YOU A MEMBER?
Share with us why you joined MSPA. We are starting a new membership initiative and need YOUR help! Fill out the Google Form below with three quick answers and be featured on our social media.
Samantha Ludlam is the new executive director of the Michigan Sheep Producers Association, replacing Maury Kaercher, who recently retired from the position after 10 years of service.
Ludlam officially assumed responsibilities Jan. 15 after successfully assisting with the 2021 virtual Michigan Shepherd Weekend event.
Ludlam has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture Food and Natural Resources Education from Michigan State University and is scheduled to complete her Master of Science Degree this spring. She also serves as the agriscience teacher and FFA advisor at Dundee Community Schools and will balance that role with the MSPA executive director position’s part-time duties.
“I hope to continue to strengthen the organization and its objectives, as well as focus on recruiting and retaining membership,” Ludlam said in a statement. “We have a long way to go since COVID-19 has set back some original plans and ideas; however, I do believe it has also opened the door to a lot of new opportunities for member engagement. “
Growing up in a family engaged in the organization, Ludlam brings vast and valuable experience. She’s volunteered with the MSPA youth, managed the organization’s social media accounts, assisted with the website for the past year, and contributed to key communication committee decisions and activities.
The Ludlam family began raising Shetland sheep more than 20 years ago. Ludlam began showing at a young age, and eventually built her own flock of club lambs. In 2011, her family began transitioning to a commercial flock of 150 ewes, providing sheep used in medical research and the treatment of Huntington’s disease.
“I have been attending MSPA functions since I was about 4 years old and just entering the sheep industry with my family,” she said. “I am fortunate to have been a member for such a long time and have grown up in the organization that fostered so many relationships that I continue to have today.”
Ludlam is ready to meet the challenges of organization recruitment and retention, which will be vital to MSPA’s future success.
“As an industry, we have remained rather resilient to the challenges that COVID-19 delivered initially; however, I know that many remain concerned about getting their products to their respective markets and securing the best prices possible,” she said.
Newly elected MSPA President Brenda Reau is eager to work with the new director in bringing recovery, sustainability, and new energy to the organization.
“Samantha’s outstanding communication skills will be an asset to the organization,” Reau said. “She is an excellent speaker, writer, and is skilled in social media. Her organizational development expertise will benefit MSPA in its mission to promote and support the Michigan sheep industry.”
“Here is the job posting in the ECLS lab as a Research Lab Specialist, the position has a 2-year commitment, with 50% night/weekend flexible work schedule. The posting does mention that there may be engineering involved however, recently our lab has realized that we may need this position to work on device fabrication and testing about 50% of the 40hr/week. The pay for this position can vary but the median is ~$40-44,000 annually, it is a salary job with full UM benefits.”
Here is the link, which will be open until 1/19/2021:
One of the Shepherds Weekend features that everyone will miss this year is the annual auction that
supports our scholarship program and youth activities. It is always a great time with Auctioneer Doyle
Your contributions are just as important this year. We hope you will consider a cash donation of what
you might have spent donating or buying an auction item.
We started this program about 25 years ago and it has been going strong ever since then. Many
outstanding folks have come through our youth program and are now contributing members of our
John Heller was our first scholarship winner. He received $500 back then to help support his college
education. Today, John and his wife Courtney still raise sheep and they operate a meat market, True
North Jerky and Foods in Chelsea. They also have three children who now attend our Shepherds
Weekend youth activities.
The sheep industry produces some fine young people, and we need your financial support to continue
our program. This year we will be awarding three scholarships based on the funds we raised in the last
auction. Please consider making a donation so we can continue this program, and a year from now will
be able to recognize outstanding youth.
Donate to the MSPA Youth Scholarship Fund today at www.misheep.org/donate.