The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) has recognized the Iowa Avian Influenza Incident Management Team with the James A. Graham Award for Outstanding Service. NASDA is a nonpartisan, nonprofit association which represents the elected and appointed commissioners, secretaries, and directors of the departments of agriculture in all 50 states and four U.S. territories.

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey, who nominated the Iowa team, said, “Staff throughout our department and from across state government stepped up and helped respond to this terrible animal disease outbreak. This award is an opportunity to highlight the hard work and long hours they all put in to the response and thank them for their service. I am extremely proud of the Iowa team and join my colleagues from across the country in congratulating them on receiving this award.”

The award citation read:

“The Iowa IMT leadership worked diligently throughout the entire 2015 H5N2 Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) outbreak in Iowa.

“This outbreak has been described by USDA APHIS leadership as the largest animal health emergency in U.S. history. The Iowa IMT leadership provided effective, strong, committed, positive and creative leadership throughout the entire emergency response in Iowa. The Iowa IMT leadership worked closely with federal, state, local and industry partners to assist producers in depopulation, disposal, cleaning and disinfection of infected facilities.

“Throughout the disease outbreak, they always maintained a focus on helping farmers get back in operation as soon as possible while ensuring strong biosecurity measures were in place to limit further spread of the disease.

“In addition to leading the Iowa response to this disease, Iowa IMT leadership has also conducted extensive training, planning and preparations in our state to better prepare for another incident of HPAI or other animal disease. They have also shared their hard-earned experience freely and served as a resource for other states preparing their own animal health emergency response plans.

“The team members include Steve Moline, Food Safety and Animal Health Division Director; Dr. David Schmitt, State Veterinarian for Iowa; Dr. Jeff Kaisand, Assistant State Veterinarian for Iowa; and Robin Pruisner, Ag Security Coordinator.”

The James A. Graham Award recognizes outstanding work in providing service to agricultural producers.  Nominees must be an employee of a state department of agriculture whose job responsibility is in any area that provides direct or indirect service to agricultural producers. Recipient must have administered their duties while exhibiting superior performance and achieving major contributions to agricultural producers in the state, region or nationally.