The Ready Ag project will utilize the expertise of Cooperative Extension professionals from multiple Land-Grant universities in the development of a set of disaster planning and continuity of operations modules for the major agriculture commodities. There are production similarities for agriculture, but because of the uniqueness in the production of different commodities, a specific set of recommendations and templates will be developed for specific commodity groups. For the scope of this project, we propose to develop disaster preparedness modules for at least five commodity groups in year one; Dairy, Poultry, Swine, Vegetables and Fruit. Planning committee (key personnel) will establish an outline for material to be included in all commodity modules. Commodity lead person will be identified. Additional commodity expertise will be solicited beyond key personnel. Existing material for agriculture disaster planning will be identified and reviewed. Key questions to be addressed will be identified. Evaluation material will be established. Basic templates and worksheets will be developed for each major commodity. Commodity specific factors will be identified. Support resources will be identified and listed. Draft worksheets and templates will be developed. Draft material will be reviewed by commodity groups on eXtension Agrosecurity CoP. Suggested revisions will be reviewed and incorporated into material. Completed material will be promoted and distributed through existing and new educational networks, other agencies, and through commodity groups. Training (train-the-trainers) will be provided if needed. Print, media, electronic, and web-based material will be developed and released. Through various national networks such as EDEN, Cooperative Extension, Farm Bureau, FSA, NRCS, eXtension, and commodity associations, the material will be promoted and incorporated into educational programs for producers. Ready Ag will provide an educational tool for production agriculture to plan and prepare for disastrous events that have a significant impact on the sustainability of production agriculture for producers and the industry.
NON-TECHNICAL SUMMARY: Disaster and emergency defense planning guides are available for individuals, families, communities, faith-based groups, commercial businesses, schools and universities; and even though there is significant interest across all sectors, no individualized planning support has been developed or adapted for production agriculture. Homeland Security Presidential Directive / HSPD-9, Defense of United States Agriculture and Food, established roles and responsibilities for federal and state agencies for the protection of the agriculture and food system in the U.S. Yet no support has been developed that focuses on production agriculture, the center and hub of our agriculture and food system. The purpose of the Ready Ag project is to collaboratively develop and distribute disaster planning and continuity of operations material for each major agricultural commodity to reduce negative impact including financial, social, and emotional, from all disasters for producers of the major agricultural commodities as a result of adopting the project material.
APPROACH: The Ready Ag project involves the resources of multiple Land-Grant institutions. Recognized expertise with a commodity may be located in the identified institutions, and within other Land-Grant institutions not originally identified in the project. As an example, the dairy commodity module will be led by Julie Smith and Glenn Rogers from the University of Vermont, but they may assemble a dairy working group with faculty expertise from other Northeast Land-Grants, and other Land-Grant universities like Michigan, Wisconsin, Idaho, and California. The same process will occur for each commodity: multiple institutions and multiple faculty expertise. The key personnel will provide project direction and oversight, but specific commodity work will be done by additional faculty and staff with commodity expertise. The disaster planning and continuity of operations questions that will be addressed with the worksheets and templates include: As a producer, what can you do to be better prepared if a disaster occurs on your farm? What inputs, outputs, materials, prior arrangements, contact information, marketing information, control and management issues, emergency management needs should be identified and addressed prior to any disaster to the producer or the industry. For example, Avian Influenza: A poultry producer may not have a positive AI flock but will be affected if there is an AI outbreak somewhere else. Animal rescue, movement, carcass disposal, utility needs, feed requirements, biosecurity practices, vaccines, supplies, transportation, market options, labor needs, etc., can be planned prior to when a disaster may effect a producer. How can a producer be better prepared to withstand a disaster or terrorist event, and sustain productivity? The material will need to be distributed, supported, and utilized in order to have an impact. The existing networks of EDEN, eXtension, and the Cooperative Extension system in each state can support and utilize this material as part of Extensions existing educational programming, or as stand-alone program materials. Other agencies, such as FSA, NRCS, and various commodity groups can support and utilize the material as well. The material needs to get in front of producers. Through educational meetings, such as dairy days, crop days, and other commodity specific educational events, this material can easily be incorporated into other programs. Stand-alone disaster planning programs tend not to be greatly attended. The expertise and credibility of the Extension educators will enhance the acceptance of this material. Through these educational events, producers will become more aware of, and more likely to implement and adopt the disaster and defense planning material.