Farm tours will be cancelled and the shoes of foreign visitors will be checked at the World Dairy Expo this year to protect cattle from possible disease spread.

On Thursday, WDE officials unveiled their biosecurity plan for this year’s show, scheduled for October 3-7. Thursday’s biosecurity briefing in Madison, Wis., came in response to the foot-and-mouth disease outbreak in Europe earlier this year.

Expo General Manager Tom McKittrick acknowledged that the FMD outbreak in Europe has heightened awareness and led Expo officials to take measures that they probably should have taken in previous years.

“World Dairy Expo is committed to providing all reasonable measures of biosecurity,” he said.

Among other things World Dairy Expo will ask the U.S. Department of Agriculture to provide increased surveillance at the Madison airport during the Expo, as well as take extra precautions regarding international visitors. At the International Registration desk, officials will examine the shoes of international visitors for possible fecal matter and also provide instructions on how to interact with animals and exhibitors at the show.

Instead of sponsoring on-farm visits this year, area dairy producers will host seminars on the expo grounds showing slides or videos of their farm operations.

Other items worth noting, from Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

  • Only cattle from the U.S. and Canada will be allowed to be exhibited at Expo. Both areas are have been free of FMD for decades.
  • Everyone entering the Expo grounds will be asked whether they have been
    to any country besides Canada and Mexico in the past five days. Visitors who have will be directed to an international registration area where their exposure to FMD will be determined. Here, their clothes and shoes will be inspected, and may be disinfected. They will also receive instructions on how to interact with exhibitors and animals.
  • Exhibitors will be required to sign affidavits stating that they, their
    animals and their equipment brought to Expo has not been in a FMD-infected
    country within the past five days.
  • Exhibitors will be asked to wear rubber boots in cattle barns and to use shoe disinfectant washtubs placed at the entrance of the barns.
  • All attendees entering the cattle barns will be required to use the shoe disinfectant washtubs placed at barn entrances.