Montana Department of Livestock Holds Training to Prepare for Potential Foreign Animal Disease Outbreak

by Colter Brown

Helena, Mont. – The Montana Department of Livestock (MDOL) has announced 10 meetings across Montana to introduce Montana’s cattle producers to the biosecurity principles of Secure Beef Supply (SBS) Plans. SBS plans are a vital tool to help producers re-enter commerce following a severe disease outbreak such as Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD).

SBS Plans outline specific measures that ranches can employ to minimize the risk of either contracting or spreading infectious disease. In the past decade, Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza, Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus, and the human coronavirus have disrupted agricultural markets and affected grocery prices in the U.S.  When highly infectious diseases like these strike new populations, we cannot eliminate all risk of infectious disease transmission. However, conscientiously executed SBS Plans can minimize such risk.

“Livestock owners and consumers depend on the uninterrupted movement of livestock,” said State Veterinarian Marty Zaluski, “This program will teach producers how they can document that their herd is low risk and will help them move animals quicker during a disease event.”

MDOL will host these meetings to familiarize ranchers and their veterinarians with the format and development of individualized SBS plans, and disease control measures to protect operations. The meetings will start mid-morning with a series of presentations that describe FMD as an example of a disease that will devastate trade if it enters the U.S., and what response to a large-scale disease outbreak will look like. After lunch, group discussion applying these principles using models to represent layouts of livestock operations will finish midafternoon. Dates and locations for the meetings are below:

TuesdayFebruary 28th10:00-3:30LewistownLewistown Livestock (tent.)
WednesdayMarch 1st10:00-3:30MaltaGreat Northern
ThursdayMarch 2nd10:00-3:30ShelbyComfort Inn
FridayMarch 3rd10:00-3:30RonanNinepipes Banquet Room
TuesdayMarch 7th10:00-3:30MilesCuster County Event Ctr.
WednesdayMarch 8th10:00-3:30SidneyRichland Co. 4-H
ThursdayMarch 9th10:00-3:30BillingsYellowstone Co. 4-H
TuesdayApril 4th10:00-3:30DillonBeaverhead Co. 4-H
WednesdayApril 5th10:00-3:30Three ForksHeadwaters Livestock
FridayApril 7th10:00-3:30Great FallsGreat Falls College G-4546

MDOL has funding to help offset the cost for up to 20 producers to develop individualized SBS plans for their operations.

  • Producers who attend these sessions are eligible to work with a veterinarian at no cost to complete on-farm biosecurity assessments.
  • Producers can work with an MDOL contract veterinarian or with their own veterinarian.
  • Veterinarians who have attended at least one tabletop exercise will be eligible for payment for completed an on-farm assessment for their client specific client operation.

Veterinarians specifically contracted by MDOL will also be available to help producers who may not have a private veterinarian available for SBS plans. Please contact Dr. Brad De Groot ( with questions or sign up for an upcoming session at

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Just curious….. Are the presenters of this program all people who are associated with the MDOL or are the presenters employed by an “out-of-state” organization. If this is an outside organization, I would be interested in knowing the name of the organization that employs these presenters. Thank you in advance.

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