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Farmer-led Surveillance

Partnerships are essential for effective surveillance systems. All livestock value chain participants including producers, transporters, rural service suppliers, abattoirs, veterinarians and diagnosticians have a role to play in disease recognition, reporting and response.

The Farmer-led surveillance systems project will seek the participation of Australian producers in a pilot program demonstrating the value of farmer-led partnerships for improving livestock surveillance at the farm level, for endemic and emergency animal diseases.

The rural community plays a vital role in livestock surveillance and goat, pig, cattle and sheep producers across the country are invited to take part in this project.

Project update: March 2018

  1. Data collection: In collaboration with beef, dairy sheep and goat industries we are undertaking surveys to collect data around practices, beliefs and behaviours related to animal disease monitoring and reporting. This data will be used to understand constraints and opportunities faced by producers and inform the development of partnerships pilots that assist with continuous improvement in animal health surveillance and biosecurity required to safeguard livelihoods and maintain resilient farming communities.  If you are a livestock producer in the beef, dairy, sheep or goat industries in Australia and would like to participate in the survey, please click on the links below:
  1. Establish pilot networks: Discussions are underway for the establishment of pilots for the partnership pilots across jurisdictions and industries. A sheep producer pilot in Western Australia and cattle producer pilot in Queensland are likely to form in the next few months.
  2. Team training: The research team is undertaking training in the successful implementation of partnership pilots based on an Agricultural Innovation System framework. More information about this framework can be found here.

Sub-project two pilot information 

Project team:

Dr Yiheyis Taddele Maru
Subproject leader

AProf Marta Hernandez-Jover
Charles Sturt University
Veterinary Epidemiologist

Dr Jennifer Manyweathers
Charles Sturt University

Emma Davis
Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation

Dr Yiheyis Maru is a senior systems research scientist, who has worked for CSIRO since 2002. He is a veterinarian who led and organised surveillance and vaccination programs for Rinderpest, a disease of cattle which was eradicated from the world in 2011. Yiheyis has an interest in understanding social, economic and environmental factors for improving livelihoods of rural communities. He has done research on the importance of social networks on the resilience of pastoralists in central Australia, and on the role of social factors on the transmission of African swine fever in east Africa. He leads the subproject on improving surveillance through farmer-led partnership as part of this RnD4Profit project.

Dr Marta Hernandez-Jover is an Associate Professor in Veterinary Epidemiology and Public Health at the School of Animal and Veterinary Science at Charles Sturt University (CSU) in Wagga. Her main interests and current research focus on biosecurity risks and risk analysis methods applied to infectious animal diseases and public health. Marta graduated in 2000 from the Universitat Autonoma of Barcelona in Spain, where she also completed her PhD on livestock traceability in 2006. In 2006, Marta joined the University of Sydney as an Epidemiology research fellow working on traceability, biosecurity, disease surveillance and risk analysis. Marta started at the School of Animal and Veterinary Sciences at CSU in 2012, where she teaches epidemiology, public health and food safety to veterinary students. She has led and contributed to research on biosecurity and disease surveillance among livestock producers in Australia, investigating implementation of and drivers for engagement with biosecurity and animal health management practices. Currently she is the Leader of the Livestock Systems Research Pathway of the Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation and the Higher Degree by Research coordinator of the School of Animal and Veterinary Science. Since completing her PhD, Professor Hernandez-Jover has published over 45 research articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals. Dr Jennifer Manyweathers has worked extensively as a veterinarian in mixed practice in rural Austrlaia and has lectured at Tsukuba University in Japan in science communication. Her interests focus on communication around scientific uncertainty in emerging disease outbreaks and the role that social and cultural insight plays in risk analysis of emergency animal and zoonotic disease outbreaks.

She completed her PhD on risk communication by veterinarians and horse owners around Hendra virus. She designed a risk communication workshop to assist veterinarians and biosecurity researchers to understand the importance of social and cultural drivers in decisions made by animal owners and farmers around animal disease risks.

Jennifer works as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Livestock Biosecurity and  Disease surveillance at the Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation and Charles Sturt University since April 2017. She is working on the application of Agricultural Innovation Systems as a framework to improve surveillance for emergance animal diseases by Australian livestock producers.

Emma Davis graduated from Veterinary Science with Honors in University of Sydney Class of 2001 with her second  degree, her first being Bachelor of Applied Science (Equine Studies) through Charles Sturt University. In 2001, before graduating Emma started a consultancy for Charles Sturt University to successfully propose and design a new veterinary school to Government in response to the Rural Veterinary Review.  Emma’s lifelong love of horses led her to equine practice and then rural mixed veterinary practice. In 2007 Emma joined the Northern Australian Quarantine Strategy (NAQS) in the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) and here worked on AusAID projects on Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza in Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. In 2009 Emma gained an Executive position in the DAFF team responding to the Callinan Review into the equine influenza outbreak and worked to implement the 38 recommendations, Emma and the team received an Australian Public Service Australia Day Award for this work in 2011. Emma was Operations Manager in the Export Meat Program in 2012 looking at quality assurance in veterinary certification systems. In 2015 Emma launched the website and a Veterinary Career Coaching business in 2017. Emma started a PhD at CSU looking at Australia’s veterinary capacity with respect to surveillance and the value veterinarians brings to the agricultural system in 2017

Dr Rob Woodgate
Charles Sturt University

Dr Rob Woodgate is a veterinarian with more than 25 years of experience in livestock health and production research and extension around Australia.

Rob is currently an Associate Professor and Associate Head of School in the School of Animal and Veterinary Sciences at Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga, NSW. He teaches parasitology and general animal health to Veterinary Science, Animal Science, Equine Science and Veterinary Technology students. Rob is also involved in a variety of biosecurity and parasitology-related research projects and manages the parasitology section of CSU’s Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory. Rob is also a current member of the National Technical Committee for Australia’s Paraboss website.

Previously Rob has worked as a Senior Veterinarian for the Department of Agriculture and Food in Western Australia, a Research Veterinarian with Veterinary Health Research in Armidale, NSW and a Veterinarian with Sheep Management and Production Consultants in Kojonup, WA. Highlights include facilitating communication and practice change with a wide range of local, national and international producers and other agribusiness, national leadership of the WormBoss website from 2005 until 2010 and membership of Australia’s national Rapid Response Team for emergency animal diseases from 2007 until 2010.