The U.S. dairy industry is poised to address potential animal health, natural disaster and other situations that could impact dairy product sales.

Recently, Dairy Management Inc., conducted two crisis drills to refine national and local crisis-response plans and enhance communication skills in the event of a disease outbreak in the United States. Participants included representatives from national and local dairy promotion organizations, National Milk Producers Federation, dairy co-ops and the International Dairy Foods Association.

To help ensure coordination between government and industry, experts from the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, the NationalCenter for Food Protection and Defense and the Center for Agriculture Security also participated in the drills.

“The dairy checkoff first developed crisis preparedness programs in 2001, following the devastating FMD (foot-and-mouth disease) outbreak in Great Britain,” said David Pelzer, senior vice president of industry image and relations with DMI. “Since then, we’ve reached out to emergency responders and others to make sure our response is consistent with those of government agencies.”

In addition to annual crisis drills, checkoff efforts include www.dairyresponse.com, which provides producers with resources, guidelines and other tools to help them communicate with the public about animal health and farm-safety issues.

Dairy Management Inc.