The Missouri Department of Agriculture’s efforts to minimize the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease were recently recognized and approved by the USDA. Missouri’s voluntary program has been designated an Approved State Chronic Wasting Disease Herd Certification Program by the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

“The Missouri Department of Agriculture takes its role in protecting the health of Missouri’s livestock very seriously and continues to work to prevent, identify and, as necessary, eradicate disease throughout the state,” said Director of Agriculture Dr. Jon Hagler.

More than 180 Missouri farms currently participate in the voluntary program, which includes inspections, testing and detailed recordkeeping. Through their participation in the voluntary program, Missouri producers shipping cervids, including deer and elk, interstate have the opportunity to certify their herds as being low risk for the neurological disease.

Missouri’s herd certification program was developed in 2002 to protect and manage captive cervids. The Department applied for approval through the USDA-APHIS Approved State CWD Herd Certification Program in 2012, shortly after the federal program became available. Missouri’s program approval is good for five years and may be renewed.

CWD is a fatal neurological disease found in deer, elk and moose. There is no evidence CWD can be transmitted to humans or non-cervid animals, such as livestock and household pets. The first known case of CWD in the U.S. was identified in South Dakota in 1997. It has since been found in a dozen states.

For more information on CWD and other animal health programs, visit the Department online at mda.mo.gov.