U.S. Department of Agriculture: Agricultural Research Service, Lincoln, Nebraska


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2018 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


L.M. Beck-Johnson et al. Preventive Veterinary Medicine 162 (2019) 56–66


Mathematical models are key tools for the development of surveillance, preparedness and response plans for the potential events of emerging and introduced foreign animal diseases. Creating these types of plans requires data; when data are incomplete, mathematical models can help fill in missing information, provided they are informed by the data that are available. In the United States, the most complete national-scale data available on cattle shipments are based on Interstate Certificates of Veterinary Inspection, which track the shipment of cattle between states; data on intrastate cattle shipments are lacking. Here we develop four new datasets on intrastate cattle shipments in the U.S., including an expert elicitation survey covering 19 states and territories and three state-level brand inspection data sets. The expert elicitation survey provides estimates on the proportion of shipments that travel interstate over multiple regions of the U.S. These survey data also identify differences in shipment patterns between regions, cattle commodity types, and sectors of the cattle industry. These survey data cover more states than any other source of intrastate data; however, one limitation of these data is the small number of participating experts in many of the states, only seven of the 19 responding states and territories had a group size of three or larger. The brand data sets include origin and destination information for both intra- and interstate shipments. These data, therefore, also provide detailed information on the proportion of interstate shipments in three Western states, including the temporal and geographic variation in shipments. Because the survey and brand data overlap in the Western U.S., they can be compared. We find that in the Western U.S. the expert estimates of the overall proportion of cattle shipments matched the brand data well. However, the experts estimated that there would be larger differences in beef and dairy shipments than the brand data show. This suggests the cattle industries in the West may be sending similar proportions of commodity specific cattle shipments over state lines. We additionally used the expert survey data to explore how differences in the proportion of interstate shipments can change predictions about cattle shipment patterns using the example of model-guided suggestions for targeted surveillance in Texas. Together these four data sets are the most extensive and geographically comprehensive information to date on intrastate cattle shipments. Additionally, our analyses on predicted shipment patterns suggest that assumptions about intrastate shipments could have consequences for targeted surveillance.