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K-State Researchers Predict That an Outbreak of Foot-And-Mouth Disease Could Cost Kansas Nearly a Billion Dollars
Date:11/27/2007

MANHATTAN, Kan., Nov. 27 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As much as $945 million. That's what agricultural economists at Kansas State University say could be the impact on Kansas' economy were there a large-scale foot-and-mouth outbreak in a region thick with livestock operations.

"If such an outbreak were to occur, livestock and meat commerce, trade, and movement would be halted," said Ted Schroeder, a K-State professor of agricultural economics. "That represents a very, very expensive endeavor."

Schroeder is co-author of a paper that predicts a devastating economic impact should foot-and-mouth disease come to Kansas.

The paper, based on the dissertation of K-State agricultural economics doctoral graduate Dustin Pendell, now on the faculty at Colorado State University, was also co-authored by John Leatherman, professor of agricultural economics at K-State. The group's paper was recently published in a special October edition of the Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics.

Foot-and-mouth disease is a highly contagious viral disease that does not affect humans, but can have devastating effects on cloven-hoofed animals such as cattle, swine, sheep, goats and deer. The United States has not had case of foot-and-mouth disease since 1929.

The team of K-State researchers analyzed a 14-county region in southwest Kansas that has a high concentration of large cattle feeding operations, as well as other livestock enterprises and beef processing plants. They considered three scenarios: one where the disease was introduced at a single cow-calf operation; one where a medium-sized feedlot, 10,000 to 20,000 head of cattle, was initially infected; and one where five large feedlots, each with more than 40,000 head of

cattle, were simultaneously exposed. Schroeder said the first two scenarios were used to predict what could happen if the disease were introduced accidentally, while the larger scenario shows what could happen
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