NDSU finishes plan
Officials at North Dakota State University have finished a written plan to safeguard against animal disease incidents. Their efforts come in the wake of a scrapie outbreak in March at the university's main station sheep farm in Fargo and at i...
Officials at North Dakota State University have finished a written plan to safeguard against animal disease incidents.
Their efforts come in the wake of a scrapie outbreak in March at the university's main station sheep farm in Fargo and at its research center in Hettinger, N.D.
Work on the 46-page management plan is done, but must be approved by the state auditor's office and Patricia Jensen, NDSU's vice president, dean and director for agricultural affairs.
The document will regulate how employees manage the university's animal units, said Don Kirby, the interim chairman of NDSU's animal and range sciences.
The proposed policies will impact all of the university's animal studies, including its new equine program, Jensen said.
The policies will direct university employees regarding animal health, animal purchases, sales and inventory. The document will also cover safeguards against bioterrorism, said Kirby, who headed the effort to establish new animal management guidelines.
Jensen set up five committees to draft the proposals after university and state auditors reported finding poor management at the main-station sheep farm.
The audits were conducted after the farm's sheep flock was identified as a source of scrapie.
"We would rather not have had this problem, but it has helped us look at our program more objectively and to deal with the farm units in another way," Kirby said. "We are more accountable than we used to be, and we feel it here."
A state audit released in May found that in the absence of written policies and internal controls, the sheep farm's manager, Wes Limesand, kept inadequate animal inventory records and commingled his sheep with state-owned sheep -- a practice that created a health risk within the state's flock.
Jensen gave Limesand a written reprimand for mismanaging the flock.
She said she plans to commission a permanent committee of university animal scientists to see that the new guidelines are followed.
"It's not going to be a document you write and put on a shelf and that's that," Jensen said. "It's a document we will use and continue to improve over time."