BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) — A team from the University of Vermont is helping lead a five-year $7.4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to look for ways to reduce the impact of catastrophic disease outbreaks within the livestock industry.

The product of the effort will be a variety of research-based messaging strategies, educational programs and other initiatives designed to protect food-producing livestock from new, emerging or foreign diseases and pests.

Team leader Julie Smith says changing the behaviors of producers, veterinarians and others in the livestock supply chain is just as important as introducing new biosecurity products like vaccines.

The project is intended to guard against contagious new diseases, as well as ones such as foot-and-mouth disease, which has not been diagnosed in the United States since 1929.

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