Determining the fallout from a foreign animal-disease outbreak on the U.S. herd, as well as the ability to control and clean up such a case is a challenge to calculate, but an important tool in planning. Models are one tool to help the effort, but there are some questions arising about the efficacy of existing animal disease-impact models. As industries have changed, it's not as clear that the models can capture the array of effects across many economic sectors and time.

Among the issues related to previous models is that they lacked adequate treatment of the economic components or the epidemiological components — or both factors.

A new report by the U.S. Economic Research Service presents a quarterly livestock and crop modeling framework in which epidemiological model results are integrated with an economic model for the U.S. agricultural sector to estimate the economic impacts of outbreaks of foreign-source livestock diseases.

The framework can be applied to many livestock diseases. For now, the study uses the model to assess a hypothetical outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease.

Among the points that the model illustrates is the large trade-related losses for beef, beef cattle, hogs and pork, even though relatively few animals are destroyed. The best control strategies were those that reduce the outbreak's duration.

To read the report, click here (PDF format).

Source: The pigsite