State Ag Officials Plan Database to Fight Farm Diseases

MAY 4, 2006 - Posted at 12:00 p.m. CST

LITTLE ROCK, AR - A $100,000 marketing campaign is planned by Arkansas agriculture officials to urge farmers to register with the government to keep track of dangerous animal sicknesses like mad-cow disease.  Meanwhile, the state plans to use federal money to hire two new workers and buy a mobile emergency command center to prepare for another animal health threat, the bird flu virus.

Both programs demonstrate the concern that global animal diseases are causing in Arkansas, a state where agriculture is a major part of the economy.  And though mad-cow disease and bird flu are high-profile problems now, officials said the equipment and programs put in place yesterday could help fight any animal illness.

To help create a database of farms, the state wants farmers to send in basic information including farm locations and the animal species on the property.  Radio, television and print ads will promote the program.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)