Biosecurity champions recognised with AHA awards

Beef Central, 24/09/2012

A veterinary epidemiologist who is playing a key role in Australia’s foot and mouth (FMD) emergency response planning and a NSW farmer who has established a biosecurity conscious cattle and equestrian centre have been recognised with awards from Animal Health Australia.

Dr Sam Hamilton, a member of the Commonwealth Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries’ FMD Task Force, where he is assisting in the development of FMD vaccination policy, has been named the 2012 Animal Health Australia Ralph Hood Award winner.

Dr Hamilton provides advice to AHA on vaccination technologies and antigens to be included in the next FMD bank, which is maintained in the United Kingdom under the administrative management of AHA.

Award judges noted that Dr Hamilton has shown initiative, leadership and commitment in mentoring colleagues sitting membership examinations for the Australian College of Veterinary Scientists. He is also on the board of examiners for the University of Sydney’s Master of Veterinary Public Health Degree.

In 2011, Dr Hamilton completed his PhD degree, which involved the development and validation of simulation models for the transmission of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in the Australian poultry industry. His research has greatly enhanced national control policies for HPAI.

“The judging panel agreed that of all nominations received, Sam Hamilton is without doubt a very worth winner of this award,” said Dr Mike Bond, AHA Chief Executive Officer. The award is named in the memory of Mr Ralph Hood, a former CEO of AHA, for his significant contributions to AHA and Australia’s livestock industries. The winner receives a total of $15,000 for professional development.

New South Wales farmer Rod Hoare was also rewarded for his years of hard work to build a biosecurity-conscious cattle stud and equestrian centre from scratch by being named the 2012 Biosecurity Farmer of the Year (Animal).
Rod was announced the winner of the award, sponsored by Animal Health Australia, at the Australian Farmer of the Year Awards dinner held last week in Melbourne.

Together with his partner Helena Warren, Rod farms 130ha at Binda, where they operate two businesses – Cadfor Murray Greys and Cadfor Equestrian.

Vacant land for the businesses was purchased in 2001, giving Rod a chance to carefully plan for potential risk such as strangles, herpes viral abortion and resistant parasites at the equestrian centre, where outside horses visit often.

He also planned for cattle disease risks such as bovine Johne’s disease, which could be potentially contracted from neighbouring properties or if cattle were taken to shows.

Rod said the installation of visitor areas and double boundary electric fencing installed 5m apart drastically reduced the biosecurity risk to the property, as well as providing a buffer against introducing weeds.

“Double boundary fencing also saves neighbourly disputes,” he said.

In addition, a comprehensive system has been established to accommodate for all risks that may be brought onto or move within and off the property, including vaccination programs, record keeping and the segregation of animals and their waste.

Rod boasts an impressive CV, having worked with NSW Department of Primary Industries and as the quarantine manager for the equestrian events at the Sydney Olympics in 2000.

During the Equine Influenza outbreak in 2007, Rod was also an Industry Liaison Officer at the state disease control headquarters, where he played a pivotal role in the eventual eradication of the disease.

Animal Health Australia’s biosecurity services executive manager Duncan Rowland said Rod was chosen as the winner because he impressed the judges with a comprehensive approach to on-farm biosecurity.

“He recognises the multitude of risks not only entering the property but also how to minimise potential risks within existing farm operations,” he said. “Rod is a great ambassador for sound on-farm biosecurity practices.”

The Australian Farmer of the Year Awards, hosted by Kondinin Group, ABC Rural and the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation, are designed to promote a positive image of farmers, inspire and encourage career choices and investment interest in Australian agriculture.

Source: Animal Health Australia


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