Big Red Biosecurity Program: A Comprehensive Educational Bio-security Program for Nebraska Poultry That Explores Use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (Drone) Technology

PI: Don Reynolds (University of Nebraska-Lincoln)

Scope of Work for Project Year 1

Objective 1: Develop a branded biosecurity program recognized for quality and integrity that contains educational modules specific to biosecurity practices related to poultry operations and appropriate for all personnel involved in the poultry industry. Increase understanding of best practices and how to integrate them.

We will begin work on Objective 1 by establishing a web site for the Big Red Biosecurity poultry program.  This web site will have links to pertinent biosecurity information for poultry producers including information on the Big Red Biosecurity training certificate program, the NPIP biosecurity program and other information pertaining to poultry biosecurity.  We will also develop the four core educational modules for the training certificate program and have them posted online for distant education access.  These four core education modules will be:

  • Module 1 – Terms, definitions and concepts.
  • Module 2 – Disease agents, pathogens, immunity and vaccines.
  • Module 3 – Best management practices for biosecurity.
  • Module 4 – Selected poultry diseases and antimicrobial resistance.


Objective 2: Develop an on-site biosecurity auditing program that combines traditional approaches for gathering information with the use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) and associated technology to comprehensively surveil property and environs for potential biosecurity risks.

With the impending NPIP biosecurity program requirement for a biosecurity audit, we feel we must prepare for the on-site biosecurity auditing program.  We will develop checklists for the various poultry sectors and have them available on the Big Red Biosecurity web site for poultry producers.  These checklists will be used to assess structures, equipment, supplies, etc. A checklist to evaluate standard operating procedures will also be developed and posted on the web site.  An essential part of this audit will be development of the UAS to provide us with aerial images and other information.  We will begin immediately to develop this portion of the project. Briefly, unmanned aircraft enabled multisensor platforms, such as combined thermal imaging with fine-scale visual imagery, will be used to assist in biosecurity decision-making at the producer level. The aerial perspective offered by small UAS presents a strategic and compelling perspective that has the potential to motivate producers to take positive steps toward managing risks. The unparalleled, low altitude view has the potential to provide a means of assessing the spatio-temporal distribution of sources, sinks and possible movement of pathogens; and for quantifying risk mitigating characteristics to enhance biosecurity. The focus of this element of the proposal is to develop an initial candidate protocol that can be used to guide deployment of unmanned aircraft to assist with biosecurity at the producer level.


Objective 3: Implement the Big Red Biosecurity Program through the University of Nebraska–Lincoln (UNL) extension network and other avenues that will allow integration with Nebraska’s poultry industry, and explore options and methods for program sustainability.

*Work on objective 3 will be deferred until year 2 of the project.


abundo.1Project Reynolds