702   Individual paper

Foot and mouth disease ready? How relationships between Australian livestock producers and other animal health stakeholders are being transformed to improve disease preparedness

Author: Jennifer Manyweathers
Graham Centre for Agricultural innovation (Charles Sturt University and NSW Department of Primary Industries), Australia

By promoting mutual trust, and inclusion of multiple sources of knowledge and experience, the Agricultural Innovations Systems (AIS) framework is transforming how improvements in animal disease management are achieved, through a four year pilot study in Australia.

Traditional approaches to improving disease monitoring and reporting typically follow a linear research-extension-adoption model. This has not been effective in addressing complex issues involving multiple stakeholders with competing priorities, such as animal disease management. Instead, an AIS approach has been adopted to enhance Australia’s preparedness for a foot and mouth disease (FMD) outbreak.

The project brings together livestock producers, veterinarians, livestock agents, abattoir representatives, social scientists, etc., to tackle complex issues around animal disease monitoring and trusting relationships, one conversation at a time.

The FMD Ready Farmer-led surveillance project, working with five different livestock industries, flips the traditional top-down deficit model approach to improve disease monitoring by including multiple stakeholder voices to transform how knowledge is co-created, valued and shared. This pilot study will contrinbute to the development of a model approach for addressing other complex scientific and social issues, reaffirming the importance of evidence-based science communication best practice.

This project is supported by Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA), through funding from the Australian Government Department of Agriculture as part of its Rural R&D for Profit program, and by producer levies from Australian FMD-susceptible livestock (cattle, sheep, goats and pigs) industries and Charles Sturt University (CSU), leveraging significant in-kind support from the research partners. 

The research partners for this project are the Commonwealth Science and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), CSU through the Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation, the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) and the Australian Department of Agriculture, supported by Animal Health Australia (AHA).The project commenced in July 2016 and will conclude in June 2020.

Co-author: Yiheyis Maru
CSIRO, Australia

Co-author: Lynne Hayes
Charles Sturt University, Australia

Co-author: Barton Loechel
CSIRO, Australia

Co-author: Jennifer Kelly
CSIRO, Australia

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