Hundreds of thousands of cattle are transported on American roads every day. With that in mind, a national bovine emergency response plan was created by a West Virginia University Extension Service agriculture and natural resource agent and a team of experts from across the United States.

Dave Workman, a WVU Extension agent in Hardy County, was awarded the Excellence in Farm and Ranch Health and Safety award by the National Association of County Agricultural Agents for the team’s development of the Bovine Emergency Response Plan.

He will accept the award on behalf of the entire team today (July 24) in Mobile, Alabama.

Workman said it’s crucial for emergency first responders, including EMS, police and other officials, to have an emergency plan to keep people and animals safe. The plan standardizes how bovine emergencies are managed and will help first responders effectively handle emergencies and accidents that involve cattle trucks.

“Dealing with high pressure situations is part of the training that first responders receive. Managing high pressure situations with large, stressed farm animals is not something first responders are typically equipped to handle properly,” explained Workman.

Some of the Bovine Emergency Response Plan’s main topics include scene assessment and the extraction, containment and relocation of the animals on scene.

Workman, now in his 34th year with WVU Extension, collaborated with a team of peers from North Dakota State University, Iowa State University, the University of Tennessee, the Ohio State University and WVU’s Reymann Memorial Farm in Wardensville. They spent three years researching and putting the framework plan together.

“The Bovine Emergency Response plan and award is a result of collaborative efforts between agents, specialists and experts from across the United States,” said Workman. “I’m helping to ‘carry the banner’ for the group.”

Workman explained that they began devising ideas of what an emergency response plan would encompass and eventually created a plan after months of research that took them around the country.

BERP is the first plan of its kind and has already made its way into publications, such as Bovine Veterinarian Magazine, a resource dedicated to beef and dairy veterinarians.

“The requests for training and information about BERP are overwhelming. We’ve had extremely positive feedback from individuals and organizations across the country, even the United States government,” Workman explained.

Workman said the focus is now on creating a curriculum and providing resources to educate others across the nation. He said train-the-trainer sessions are in the works.

The plan was funded by the United States Department of Agriculture and Beef Check-Off, which contracts with the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.

To learn more about WVU Extension Service’s Agriculture and Natural Resources unit, visit or contact your local WVU Extension Service office.



CONTACT: Cassie Waugh Thomas, WVU Extension Service

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