Healthy Animals, Healthy People: Group Connects Around Century-Old Roots
Picture it: It’s the 1890s, and vast cattle ranches stretch across the southern states, particularly in Texas. Some ranchers tediously roll out the very “modern” invention of barbed wire to claim the longhorn herds and other breeds they called their own. Terms related to bovine tuberculosis, Texas fever and summertime bovine infection are circulating quickly, prompting livestock commissioners, ranchers and officials to get together to talk about the serious issues of preventing and managing livestock disease.
In this picture, it’s more than a century before email and Twitter, and the group relies on pulling together across the states and sharing the science and knowledge they have, collectively, to solve problems.
Today, the view is new – but the passion remains. A large group of livestock officials, researchers and interest groups still meets on a national basis to share the science behind healthy livestock and healthy people, operating under the name the U.S. Animal Health Association.
As a reflection of northwest Missouri becoming a hotbed of agricultural science and life science research, the U.S. Animal Health Association (USAHA) operates from St. Joseph, Mo., with a national and global reach. More than 1,100 individuals across the roles of animal health officials, state and federal representatives and individuals make up the membership of the USAHA, with representation in every state — plus 34 groups that work within both health and consumer arenas, such as the National Pork Producers Council and the National Cattleman’s Association.
USAHA works within the science of animal health to also help protect public health, forming partnerships with medical professionals and veterinarians. Executive Director Benjamin Richey explains that through a science-minded approach, they’re creating a combined effort referred to as one-health – meaning human and animal medicine working together to prevent disease, address food safety and be prepared for emergency.
“Animal health, like all agriculture, can be full of transition. We’re here to provide solutions and support that make the business as smooth as possible for the livestock industry,” says Richey.
Aside from the obvious reasons these endeavors are so important, USAHA explains that livestock disease cost farmers, ranchers and consumers at least $1 billion per year in resources. Each year, a national meeting calls together the best minds in animal health, including members and partner groups, to look at solving challenges and innovations across the animal health industry.
On a daily basis, members receive an email newsfeed from USAHA that highlights recent events across animal health and offers information for building a stronger knowledge base.
“It’s a privilege to serve our members,” says Richey. “They are dedicated and hard-working, and have a true passion for animal health. We’re here to support them in what they do for the greater good of agriculture and animal health, and to help feed the world.”
Today, SJC recognizes the work of the U.S. Animal Health Association to share critical news and coordinate the knowledge of hundreds of national groups and partners toward the common goal of healthier animals and healthier food. Thank a member of the U.S. Animal Health Association today.
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