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Conference Name Bio-Security Proficiencies Program for Young Producers

Martin Smith and Cheryl L. Meehan


National and state agencies have identified bio-security related to animal agriculture as a high priority that extends beyond commercial agriculture to include backyard and youth producers. 2,300,000 youth participate in 4-H Animal Science projects annually, and recent disease outbreaks involving animals exhibited by youth at public venues illustrate some of the practices and concerns associated with the risk of disease spread, and highlight the need for effective education interventions.
This concurrent session will introduce the Bio-Security Proficiencies Program for Young Producers, a risk management education program developed by University of California Cooperative Extension and funded by the Western Center for Risk Management Education. The proficiencies are built around educational activities that promote the acquisition of knowledge and skills through experiential learning. The scaffolded activities guide youth through the process of evaluating and improving practices to mitigate disease transmission and associated financial risks. Recent research involving 120 youth from three county 4-H Programs in California revealed significant improvement in understanding of key concepts and application of essential skills. The youth participants also extended their knowledge to community members through public presentations that positively impacted attendees’ reported understanding of bio-security topics.
The workshop will provide participants with an overview of the Bio-Security Proficiencies Program, copies of proficiencies and strategies for program replication, and research outcomes describing the proficiencies’ efficacy. Presenters have a proven track record for developing and implementing results-based education outreach programs with 4-H and have been actively engaged in bio-security education and extension efforts for 10 years.