During May 2019, leaders of the Animal Disease Biosecurity Coordinated Agricultural Project (ADBCAP) hosted a symposium in College Park, Maryland. The event highlighted outcomes of the team’s work so far, along with workshops to foster connections and share knowledge among stakeholders in the field of agricultural biosecurity. Funded by a USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) grant, the project will soon enter its fifth and final year.
The project team, led by Dr. Julie Smith at the University of Vermont, includes ecologists, social scientists, data scientists, economists, communication and education specialists, and veterinarians. In addition to members of the team at the University of Vermont (UVM), collaborators are nationally located at Iowa State University, Kansas State University, Montana State University, University of Arizona, University of Central Florida, and Washington State University. The main thrust of the project has been understanding the drivers of human behaviors and decisions that affect the risk of disease spread among farm animals.
The ADBCAP team has looked at the influence of several factors–economic incentives, information about disease location and protection, and how information is provided–on the implementation of biosecurity. We conducted interviews, used survey-based approaches, and developed innovative experimental and serious computer games to gather data. The team is also exploring the realm of virtual reality for research and educational purposes.