SHIC Representatives Tour NBAF Seeing Benefit for US Livestock Industry

National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility directors and research leaders invited Swine Health Information Center Board of Directors members and staff to tour the new facilities in Manhattan, Kansas, in late July. The tour and presentations provided insight into the new facilities’ abilities to achieve its mission of protecting the US livestock industry against transboundary, emerging, and zoonotic animal diseases. The team also explored potential collaboration to meet SHIC’s objectives of minimizing the impact of emerging disease threats through preparedness, and targeted research investments.

SHIC Board of Directors members Drs. Russ Nugent, Daryl Olsen, Jeremy Pittman, and Paul Ruen attended along with Executive Director Dr. Paul Sundberg and Associate Director Dr. Megan Niederwerder.  

Per the USDA website, NBAF will replace the Plum Island Animal Disease Center, a biosafety level-3 facility. When complete, USDA Agricultural Research Service and Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service will transfer their research and diagnostic missions to NBAF and will jointly operate the facility. The USDA team at NBAF currently has access to the facility and started a phase of transition from Plum Island Animal Disease Center to the new site. NBAF is the first high-containment, biosafety Level 4 facility for livestock in the US, which will enable scientists to work on the most high-consequence zoonotic animal diseases — those that can infect both livestock and people.

In addition to working on protecting the US against transboundary, emerging, and zoonotic animal diseases threatening our food supply, agricultural economy and public health, NBAF will also be a critical component of a key USDA priority—the development of animal vaccines and other countermeasures for the detection of diseases that threaten livestock, other animals and domestically-produced food. NBAF’s enhanced diagnostic and training capabilities will further contribute to its mission of protecting the nation from foreign or transboundary animal diseases.

The Swine Health Information Center, launched in 2015 with Pork Checkoff funding, protects and enhances the health of the US swine herd by minimizing the impact of emerging disease threats through preparedness, coordinated communications, global disease monitoring, analysis of swine health data, and targeted research investments. As a conduit of information and research, SHIC encourages sharing of its publications and research. Forward, reprint, and quote SHIC material freely. For more information, visit or contact Dr. Paul Sundberg at [email protected] or Dr. Megan Niederwerder at [email protected].