WASHINGTON – The Transformational Strategies for Farm Output Risk Mitigation (TRANSFORM) consortium was recently announced by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).  

Cargill, Ausvet, Heifer International and the International Poultry Council will all be part of the group with USAID to improve livestock management and combat the threat of zoonotic disease to both human and animal health. The agreement is a five-year deal for $33 million for funding.

TRANSFORM will focus on minimizing the risks of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and zoonoses spread from animals to humans such as foodborne pathogens, anthrax and avian and swine influenza.

The consortium will also look at transboundary animal diseases such as foot-and-mouth disease and African swine fever (ASF). Cargill, Ausvet, Heifer International and the IPC all plan to increase the capacity of government, agribusinesses and farmers to prevent and identify threats to human health.  

"We know that agriculture can help solve some of the world's most pressing challenges," said Chuck Warta, head of Cargill Health Technologies. "We're honored to have been selected to lead this important work and are confident that Cargill's global reach and research capabilities, combined with our partners' unique expertise and influence in animal agriculture, can minimize these massive threats to our global food system and to human health."

Working with animal agriculture supply chains and markets can show how production processes can increase incomes for farmers. Another goal for TRANSFORM is to bring a change to the livestock sector in Africa and Asia.

Beginning in 2022, Cargill will start nutrition and immune health trials on dairy, poultry, shrimp and swine operations in four countries throughout Asia and Africa. The company plans to better understand and quantify the role holistic animal nutrition can play in reducing the threats of zoonotic diseases to human health.

Ausvet will expand its health information system to serve farms in Indonesia and Vietnam. The group will collect real-time data and insights on disease occurrence, vaccination programs, and antibiotic usage so farmers, governments and industries can make data-driven decisions to maintain and improve animal health and its connection to human health.

“As epidemiologists, we know that good decisions require good information,” said Angus Cameron, DVM, director at Ausvet. “Our approach focuses on working with the farmers, their veterinarians, other service providers and value chain players, providing them with a service to better manage their own data, integrate it, analyze it, and provide real-time reliable information to help them make better disease management decisions.”

Heifer International will work with smallholder farmers in India and Kenya to improve biosecurity and animal management and health. The organization also has a goal of increasing farmers’ incomes.

“Smallholder farmers produce the majority of the world’s food. By equipping them with tools to improve animal management and biosecurity, we are supporting the production of safe, healthy food that improves nutrition, while preventing the spread of pathogens that threaten global human health,” said Pierre Ferrari, president and chief executive officer of Heifer International. “Heifer International is working with community veterinarians to embed knowledge of new practices into the services they provide and supporting farmers to access finance, incentivizing sustainable adoption of biosecurity practices by small-scale livestock producers.”

IPC plans to develop and adopt industry-wide principles, policies and standards with antimicrobial stewardship. 

“IPC brings together poultry industry stakeholders from across the globe, and throughout the total value chain, to build relationships and address shared challenges,” said Robin Horel, IPC president. “IPC has an industry-wide commitment to antimicrobial use stewardship and seeks to leverage our network to advance systems thinking approaches, and best practices, that can be scalable globally through private sector leadership in proactively addressing transboundary or foodborne risks.”