National and state agencies have identified biosecurity related to animal agriculture as a matter of high priority, and the United States Department of Agriculture has a long-term goal of safeguarding the animal production industry from outbreaks of animal disease (APHIS, 1998, 2010). Many 4-H Animal Science project animals are kept as part of backyard farms. Data collected during a study of California 4-H youth revealed the presence of numerous biosecurity risks. For example, 66% of project animals are housed in “backyard herds” with same or mixed species (Smith, 2009). Respondents indicated they traveled with their project animal to an average of two project meetings where mixing with other animals occurred and quarantine procedures were limited (Smith, 2009). These risks highlight the need to develop and provide education resources to 4-H youth, volunteers, and staff to help mitigate potential health and financial impacts.
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