Food Supply and Bio-Security Topic of Annual Workshop

Maintaining a secure and safe food supply for the United States in the wake of global terrorism will be the topic for the annual Nick Petry workshop beginning at 9:45 a.m. Dec. 12 in the stadium arena at the National Western Stock Show complex in Denver. The workshop is sponsored by Colorado State University’s Western Center for Integrated Resource Management and the National Western Scholarship Trust.

The workshop will feature nationally-known experts including Colorado State researchers, who will address animal disease and bioterrorism, and an animal identification expert from Conti-Beef.

Colorado State President Larry Penley will give remarks about the university’s land-grant response to animal industry issues such as animal disease and bioterrorism.

Keynote speaker Don Ament, Colorado commissioner of agriculture, will address animal industry issues specific to the state of Colorado.

Dr. Terry Spraker, veterinarian and Colorado State professor of microbiology, immunology and pathology, will address chronic wasting disease in Colorado. Spraker works primarily with wild and domestic mammals and birds and has been instrumental in developing a diagnostic test that identifies and monitors chronic wasting disease in wildlife and livestock.  

Mike Thoren, animal identification expert with Conti-Beef, will discuss the company’s strategies for tracking animals to address animal disease and bioterrorism issues in the food supply. Conti-Beef is among the largest animal feeding operations in the world and has been an industry leader in using new technology to track individual animals. The company boasts a reputation for its environmentally-friendly management strategies. Its corporate offices are located in Boulder.

Gary Smith, Monfort chair and professor of meat sciences at Colorado State, will discuss changes in the beef industry since 9/11 and the subsequent creation of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Because bioterrorism could be directed toward animal agriculture, Smith will discuss how the implementation of birth-to-consumption, complete and rapid trace-back capabilities would be effective in minimizing the extent of and deterring an act of agricultural or food bioterrorism.  

Dr. Dick Bowen, veterinarian and Colorado State professor of biomedical sciences, will discuss the impact of West Nile virus on agriculture. Bowen will discuss how West Nile virus is an example of an emerging pathogen that has been known for decades in parts of Africa, Asia and Europe. Its appearance in 1999 in New York was followed by dissemination throughout most of the continental United States, as well as into Canada and Mexico. Humans and horses are the two species most commonly affected by West Nile virus. In both species, a majority of those infected either fail to develop any disease or have a mild, flu-like illness. However, a significant fraction of people and horses infected with this virus suffer severe disease and die from the infection. Bowen will discuss control efforts that are focused on development of vaccines for both humans and animals and on enhancing methods for control of mosquito populations.

The workshop will conclude with a question-and-answer session with Bowen, Spraker, Thoren and Smith; State Veterinarian Wayne Cunningham; and Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture Don Ament.

Lunch is provided at the workshop and RSVPS are required. For reservations, call Andrea at 303-297-1167 or e-mail


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